Toronto officials consider congestion tolls

| Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A task force funded by the Ontario provincial government says one way to combat traffic congestion in Toronto is to impose tolls, including variable rates during peak traffic times.

Time is ticking on a public comment period leading up to the task force’s recommendation to the provincial government in June. The concept is being floated by Metrolinx, a planning task force formerly known as the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority.

Metrolinx spokesman Dennis Callan spoke about the report titled “Green Paper No. 6: Roads and Highways” during a recent symposium in Toronto. Click here to read the executive summary of the report, which Callan said is not a formal recommendation at this stage.

“You can have time-of-day pricing, and you then make your choice whether to use those lanes or not,” Callan said.

“You can have congestion pricing, which is more of an area system as per London, England. You can also have pricing based on the environment and emissions, and then there’s distance-based pricing.”

Click here to view Callan’s 14-minute presentation that includes proposed tolling scenarios. The page includes a link for public comments about the proposal. Comments received after Thursday, April 17, will be considered for the next phase of discussions leading up to an official recommendation to the Ontario government in June.

Under the proposal, revenue would go to fund transit programs in the Greater Toronto Area.

Congestion and tolling have also generated news in other North American cities. A proposal to implement congestion pricing in New York City failed recently when the New York State Assembly refused to vote on it. Toll rates during peak times were proposed at $8 for cars and $21 for trucks entering Lower Manhattan. On April 8, Houston area commissioners began to mull congestion pricing on toll lanes not yet complete.

In addition to the opportunity to comment online, the public can weigh in on the Toronto proposal via fax or traditional mail also.

  • Mail comments to:

      20 Bay Street, Suite 901
      Toronto, Ontario M5J 2N8

  • Phone: 416-874-5900

 

  • Fax: 416-874-5901

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