[URBAN NOTE] “John Tory defends road toll plan: If you have a better idea, let’s hear it”
Chris Selley writes in the National Post about Tory’s defense of his road toll plan.
Mayor John Tory visited the National Post editorial board Thursday to defend his plan to toll the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway, putting the proceeds toward some $33 billion in approved-but-unfunded capital projects, notably public transit.
“There was no sense having a traffic and transit plan … if you didn’t have the answer to the one question that’s been elusive over time: How are you going to pay for it?” Tory said. “Our map of transit lines is pathetic, compared to any city (in the world) of our size, sophistication and wealth.”
And if you don’t like his plan to pay to improve it, he said — to everyone implicitly, and explicitly to Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown — where’s yours?
It remains a remarkably bold gambit. But the plaudits died down by the end of the day he announced it. Then, and since, Toronto’s air raid siren of complaint has been fading back up toward full volume.
“In Toronto, whenever the going gets tough, politicians turn to the panacea, road tolls,” Coun. Shelley Carroll wrote, bizarrely, on her website. No one suggested tolls were a panacea, and it is demonstrably not the case that Toronto politicians always turn to road tolls when the going gets tough. Hence the lack of road tolls.