Nanos Research on Toll Roads in Ontario
If you’ve been hanging around this site for awhile, you’ll know that we are fans of toll roads (see posts “Bring on the toll roads” September 10-07 and “Globe columnist joins the toll road gang” November 25-07). Nik Nanos undertook a study a month ago to see if people were interested in supporting the notion. To my utter amazement, no one wants to pay for what is currently free. Nik could have thought to ask a more obvious question: You currently breathe the air for no charge. How do you feel about paying for air in the future? For some reason, he
The better question to ask urban Ontarians was: Toronto’s (replace with Ottawa, Hamilton, etc.) budget deficit is such that the City can no longer afford to provide even basic snow removal or ice rinks. Toronto/Ottawa/Hamilton/etc. residents currently bear 100% of the burden of upkeep for many of the main commuter arteries that run through those cities. Do you support the introduction of tolls on those key roads so that people who don’t currently pay local taxes can contribute to the upkeep and maintenance of those roads?
Instead, Nik asked the following question:
“Municipalities across Ontario are implementing new user fees to help pay for public services. Some communities are considering adding toll fees on major roads that up until now have been free. Do you support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or oppose the adding of toll fees on roads to help pay for their construction and maintenance?”
Support/Oppose (N=501, MoE ±4.4%, 19 times out of 20)
Somewhat support 13%
Somewhat oppose 12%
Local Mayors need to ignore data such as this and press on with toll roads. The 407 hasn’t caused political retribution, and the good people in New Brunswick make do with them as well. Why would local politicians have the nerve to introduce a tax on how much garbage Torontonians generate, but not how much they use the DVP or Gardiner Expressway? At least in the case of Toll Roads you catch the
freeloading good people of Mississauga as well.
I would love the city of Toronto to open talks with the 407/ETR consortium about adding the Gardiner/DVP to their system. I would bet that they would pay the absolute top dollar for those assets (somewhere in the range $70-90-million/Km).