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Toronto mayor proposes road tolls, finally

When I wrote yesterday’s post about road tolls, it hadn’t been announced that Toronto Mayor John Tory was going to call for road tolls on both of the highways coming into downtown. That didn’t leak until late in the evening. So I was just writing another post on a topic that I care about.

Today, however, that announcement was made and the proposal is a flat $2 toll on both the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway. It is expected that this could bring in close to $200 million a year in new revenue for the city – all of which would be dedicated towards transit and roads. Good.

First, I want to applaud the mayor for coming out in support of road pricing. I didn’t agree with him on the Gardiner East, but I agree with him on this – mostly. It is a bold move.

The reason I say mostly is because I hope that we don’t simply default to a fixed and blunt road toll. There are more sophisticated options out there, such as variable pricing models that change based on demand/congestion levels.

Here’s a post that explains how that works and why I think it’s a good model.

With this approach, it becomes more of a congestion charge rather than a toll. It also gives commuters the option of driving during off-peak times to save money. And if we implemented something like this, I am sure that we would see employers and office hours adapt. More on this in the above post.

Still, I absolutely believe that it’s a step in the right direction for this great city. So thank you Mayor Tory.

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