Here me out on this:
First….most of the great large cities in the world have excellent Subways and rail lines. Toronto slowed and almost stopped building Subways and rapid transit years ago and we became more and more dependent on highways for transportation.
Second…Toronto is surrounded by bedroom communities filled with people who use the major thoroughfares to come to the City to make their incomes and head back to their suburban properties where they pay the most of their taxes. Some major cities like New York make suburbanites who get paid in the City, pay a special tax to the City of New York.
Third…and most important…even though it is difficult, cars have made it easier to live in one part of the City, work in another part of the City or Province and recreate in yet another part of the City or Province. We think nothing of doing so because the cost is relatively cheap.
Maybe a toll on the major City owned highways during peak hours will make us think more about living closer to work, telecommuting or travelling the highways at non-peak times:
- The 407 Highway sits at the top of the City and if you’re in a rush and choose to use it, it is a great option.
- Houston, Texas has a circle of freeways surrounding the City that has one lane that is a “Pay-Express” lane.
- It’s cheaper to fly on Porter Airlines on off peak hours…
With all, the consumer can make a decision. If you have to travel the major arteries at peak hours, you pay. I will happily do so if I know that we will start building major Subways again.
I salute Sarah Thompson, candidate for Mayor of Toronto City Council, for bringing the subject to the political table. Chances are it will never happen because it is a “hot potato” but it is something that we should be thinking about.