Laser focused on Mark LeLiever’s platform to Get Toronto Moving both physically and economically, today he officially announces details of his plan to reduce Toronto highway commuter traffic by as much as 25% while increasing City of Toronto revenue by an estimated $300 million annually.
Mark is calling it TollTO. You might call it “LET-THE-OTHER-GUY-PAY-BECAUSE-I-ALREADY-DO-WITH-MY-PROPERTY-TAXES.”
That’s right: If you live in Toronto – anywhere in the ‘M’ postal code – you drive the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway FREE OF CHARGE.
The $250 million annual maintenance costs for the DVP and Gardiner are currently borne solely on the backs of Toronto taxpayers, which is why Mark feels strongly it’s about time we make the “other guys” pay for a change.
“First off,” says Mark, “while Olivia Chow and Josh Matlow promise to tear down the Gardiner Expressway – which would undoubtedly grind this city and a lot of Toronto businesses to a halt – Ana Bailao is promising to ‘upload’ the maintenance costs to the province, which we all know will never happen. We need to embrace the Gardiner and the DVP for the assets they are and make them work for Toronto.”
Mark is also confident he can reduce those inflated $250 million annual maintenance costs by at least 20% (in part because he promises to revamp the City’s current “vendor abused” procurement process), and when you consider he estimates TollTO will net at least $300 million annually, that puts Toronto in a cash-positive position to the tune of more than $100 million annually.
“We can do a lot of good with that annual revenue stream,” confirms Mark, “like build new shelters and long-term housing on City land to give people hope by getting them off the streets.”
How much will the “other guys” pay? That depends. TollTO will utilize a precedent-setting incentivization tool never before implemented in any city worldwide. Like Torontonians, some living outside the ‘M’ postal code could drive the Gardiner and DVP for free, while others could pay as much as $22.50 for an all-day, one-time-only daily vehicle fee to drive the DVP and Gardiner.
This proposed $22.50 fee is less than London, England’s Congestion Tax, currently 15 pounds (about $25.00 Canadian) per vehicle.
Based on commuting data in Statistics Canada’s January, 2023 report taken from the 2021 Census of Population, of the 347,930 vehicles that commute to Toronto daily for work outside the ‘M’ postal code, 277,535 of them are driver-only occupied.
“Those statistics are from 2021,” explains Mark. “With Covid more in our rearview mirrors now, today the number of commuters are probably higher.”
Historically speaking, TollTO will change commuters’ driving trends (much like it did with London, England’s Congestion Tax) in nothing but a positive way and as a result commuter traffic will reduce from as little as 55,000 to as many as 70,000 less vehicles daily on Toronto highways. That translates into faster commutes, a reduced carbon footprint, and less ‘spillover’ meaning less traffic congestion on Toronto’s city streets.
Mark proposes TollTO would operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday. Weekends and after-hours would be free for all regardless of your registered location.
The cost to develop TollTO would be, on the high-end, $18 million, with annual administration costs of no more than $15 million.
Says Mark: “After TollTO is implemented, naturally we hope commuters’ driving trends change so traffic congestion is reduced significantly on our roads and highways. If they don’t, the benefit is that TollTO would provide the City of Toronto with an annual positive cash flow of more than $800 million annually. We could help a lot of Torontonians with that kind of revenue.”
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