Here are some excerpts from the first article.
Tolls, gas taxes urged to fund roads, transit
Jan 21, 2008 03:48 PM
THE CANADIAN PRESS
Ontario should follow the example set by some European countries and charge drivers road tolls, congestion fees and gas levies to pay for necessary highway upgrades and improved public transit, a study released today recommends.
Although the province’s former finance minister is already putting the brakes on the proposal, the study’s author said the extra charges on southern Ontario’s 400-series highways and major thoroughfares would help reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and traffic jams by getting people off the roads.
A toll of seven cents per kilometre of travel would generate $700 million in revenue each year and drivers could be billed by mail, Kitchen said. A fuel tax of about six cents a litre could generate up to $420 million per year to relieve gridlock and improve public transit without raising property taxes, he added.
“It’s not necessarily all about raising revenue,” he said. ``It’s about getting efficient use of it. What (tolls) are effectively doing is keeping cars off the road — reduce congestion and reduce their environmental problem. That is a value too.”
So apparently road tolls, gas levies, and congestion fees are about getting people off the road. It seems there are too many cars on the road. Anyone living in Toronto and the GTA can tell you that. The question you have to ask yourself is where did all of that traffic come from?
Here is the second one.
Tolls strike fear, loathing in hearts of car junkies
Jan 23, 2008 04:30 AM
Public transit riders have been familiar with the concept since the beginning; they're called fares, and everyone who rides the rails pays them. In Toronto, fares on the much-unfunded TTC rank among the highest in North America.
But for some reason, those who ride the roads have always been exempt from almost any sort of user fee beyond gas taxes, which, conveniently, are about half what they are in Europe and much of the civilized world. (This doesn't include the U.S., a country so addicted to petroleum that even failed oilman-turned-president George W. Bush admits his people need help.)
That's why long faces greeted Kitchen's suggestion that we might want to consider putting tolls on the 400-series highways and others including the QEW, the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway. He also proposes increasing the fuel tax. And in a move that can be counted on to strike fear and loathing into the heart of every driver in the region, Kitchen recommends municipalities levy a tax on non-residential parking spaces. About time, too.
In many parts of the world, such notions are acceptable, if not popular, because they're necessary. By reducing the number of cars and trucks, we help clean the air and alleviate the growing congestion crisis. It's true the other side of this coin is adequate public transit, something we let go 30 years ago. But as Kitchen argues, the $1 billion-plus raised by the taxes could go straight to the Better Way(s).
It is clear that these moves are to get cars off the road and people onto public transit. I have no problem with that. I loath North American car culture. But the real question is would these taxes and levies be necessary if Toronto and the surrounding area didn't import over 1 million people every ten years? Toronto and the GTA have seen increasing traffic congestion because of mass immigration. Houses in Toronto are becoming increasing unfordable because of mass immigration causing home buyers, which includes immigrants, to look outside of Toronto. This contributes to urban sprawl and forces people to become more dependent on cars thus increasing congestion and green house gas emissions. Also, the TTC (Toronto public transit) is under considerable strain because of mass immigration as well for obvious reasons. It is under funded because the rapid influx of immigrants into the city has created greater demand for its services and thus needs to be upgraded to accommodate this demand.
These tax increases are just another cost to Canadians to fund Canada's ridiculous mass immigration policy. It's the cost of multiculturalism. But hey isn't it worth it? You know, when you're backed up in a queue waiting to drop some change in a toll booth, after crawling through heavy traffic, trying to get home from a long days work, just think of all the ethnic restaurants you can eat at. That'll ease the pain, I hope.