In a lunchtime speech for the Toronto Region Board of Trade on November 24, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced the addition of highway tolls to the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway following city staff reports recommending the switch.
In the same announcement, the mayor also discussed other tools to generate revenue, including supporting a hotel tax. Additionally, Tory confirmed that Toronto Hydro would not be sold off.
Supporting highway tolls comes as a policy shift for the mayor who, while campaigning in 2003, said tolls were “highway robbery” when his opponent David Miller suggested implementing them.
The proposed $2.00 toll is estimated to generate $150 million to $200 million in funds for infrastructure and transportation spending across the city.
Recent polling by The Forum Research survey showed Toronto residents divided on the issue with 46 per cent in favour, 45 per cent opposed, and 9 per cent without an opinion.
Approximately 40 per cent of Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway drivers come from outside the city and don’t pay Toronto property taxes.
The proposal must be approved by City Council and the city would have to ask the provincial government for permission.
The specifics of implementing the toll, including if it would apply to commercial vehicles, are still unclear.
— With files from the Toronto Star.