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Toronto inches closer to implementing transit taxes

Posted by Chris Bateman / April 16, 2013

toronto gardiner expresswayCity staff have released the short list of transit taxes they say Toronto city council should consider in order to fund the next phase of transit projects, including the Downtown Relief Line. In a report to be discussed at next week's executive committee meeting, city manager Joe Pennachetti and the chief financial officer Rob Rossini recommend:

  • 7.5 - 15% development charge hike
  • 5-10% per litre fuel tax
  • 50¬Ę - $1 per space parking levy
  • 0.5 - 1% sales tax

All of which must be entirely dedicated to funding transport projects - nothing else.

Once the first round of projects, including the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, are complete, staff say the city should adopt highway tolls, high-occupancy toll lanes, and a vehicle registration tax. It's thought once the first batch of new infrastructure is available the secondary charges will be more appropriate.

"While fuel tax, sales tax, commercial parking levy and development charges can be implemented in the near term, the revenue options which more directly impact vehicle users should be delayed until phase one investments are substantially completed, providing alternative modes of transportation," the report says.

Staff also say council should express support for the Big Move projects provided there is a "clear commitment" from Metrolinx and the province to build new subways and light rail lines in order to reduce congestion and boost transit capacity.

Rob Ford has indicated he is against any new taxes, even making a gagging noise the last time new ways of paying for subways were brought up during a media scrum. It's believed approving these new charges would deliver more than the $2 billion needed each year.

"I'm not supporting any of those revenue tools. People can't afford these taxes. That's all it is is tax, tax, tax," he said during today's casino discussions.

Staff rejected a TTC fare increase, congestion charge, payroll tax, and land transfer tax. Income, utility, and property taxes were also not part of the package of recommendations.

What do you think - is a two-step approach the best way to get the most transit for every dollar? Do you support these taxes?

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: ReDeViL72/blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

60 Comments

BillyO / April 16, 2013 at 01:26 pm
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Sales tax and dev charges seem best. Not quite sure how parking levy would work - does that just mean more for street parking or charging for parking at places that are now free (GO stations, malls, etc? If so then yeah I think that is feasible.

Only concern: what if executive committee shuts these recommendations down? Aren't we back at square one? Could this be taken to a referendum (like LA did)?
anon / April 16, 2013 at 01:31 pm
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Any plan to address congestion that doesn't include demand-priced tolls is insane. One can only hope that staff are just keeping that option in the back pocket for Toronto-only funding.
Enough / April 16, 2013 at 01:35 pm
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No New Taxes. You want more transit, you pay for it. Increase fares, force bicyclists to be licensed and charge them. No more of this bullshit. Enough is enough. These taxes will be the death of Toronto.
Morgan / April 16, 2013 at 01:37 pm
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Yorkdale already charges for parking. And a ridiculous amount too! Hopefully this isnt a trend to come for other malls. I dont see a point of the GO charging for parking as they charge enough for the actual ride. Car traffic will become more and more if these prices keep going up.
Todd replying to a comment from Enough / April 16, 2013 at 01:40 pm
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You want to live in a small town and don't realize it yet, so in lieu of self-discovery, you'll just repeat tired mantras and ruin it for everyone else.

If you live in a city, you have to pay taxes to have nice things.

Don't want to pay taxes? Relocate to a farm.
Nick replying to a comment from Enough / April 16, 2013 at 01:42 pm
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@Enough: right now, Toronto is the 5th most tax friendly jurisdiction of 55 major cities around the world (source: KPMG) - you get the crappy infrastructure you deserve if you spout what you're spouting. And by the way, everyone - including single-occupant car drivers - benefits from improved transit because otherwise, those people would also be single-occupants in more cars, clogging up your commute even further.
Adjei replying to a comment from Enough / April 16, 2013 at 01:43 pm
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And what's wrong with taxes, how do you suggest governments pay for things without taxes? Taxes are a part of life. If you don't want to pay taxes, I have a suggestion for where you can move to : SOMALIA.
Guy replying to a comment from BillyO / April 16, 2013 at 01:43 pm
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No, sales tax is NOT the answer. The people in Toronto who use transit live here. We need it because our streets and parking and highways are clogged with suburbanites who make their living here. Then they spend all their money in other municipalities. The answer is payroll tax, then there's no escaping it.
kat replying to a comment from Morgan / April 16, 2013 at 01:46 pm
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Yorkdale does not charge for parking? I know of 1 or 2 lots that do but that is your own personal decision to park in those. The majority of parking lots at Yorkdale are free.
Danny / April 16, 2013 at 01:47 pm
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@Enough - no more congestion will be the death of Toronto. We already lost $6billion+ in productivity because of congestion in the city.

Raising fares will send more people back out onto the roads causing even more congestion

I'm ok with all of those options except the fuel charge. They are all feasible and pretty nominal in the grand scheme of things.

As someone who used to drive around all day, the congestion is nuts and needs to be taken care of. I'll take a nominal tax hike over road tolls anyday
Marc replying to a comment from Enough / April 16, 2013 at 01:51 pm
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Lol "Enough"

Look at the privileged asshole telling us that he's been taxed enough.

Texas is calling, hunty.
Joe / April 16, 2013 at 01:52 pm
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Rididculous, arent we supposed to be promoting public transit, not trying to discourage it. Dont try to increase any of the fares. Add tolls if we have to, where public transit does not get charged, and all cars going through get charged. We are trying to reduce congestion not increase it.

Yes it would bring us funds to fund highway infrastructure, etc.but we can get those funds for budget elseways.
Big Fuckin Mega Boat / April 16, 2013 at 01:58 pm
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A lot of troll feeding going on here...
annoyed / April 16, 2013 at 02:03 pm
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Forget taxes on citizens of Toronto...that would be a shame since we already pay a fortune.

Let's start with tolling commuters who drive daily into downtown Toronto and use our infrastructure while taking their earnings to the suburbs. For example, we should toll the Gardiner and the DVP from 630 to 930am and 3pm to 6pm Monday through Friday. This would generate signficant revenue and reduce volume on our highways. We then use the revenue to expand rail lines for the Go-Train and improve our subway system. I will reiterate that we need subways and should rid ourselves with the horrendously inefficent LRT transit...
Alex / April 16, 2013 at 02:05 pm
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We can't implement highway tolls, we don't own them. I support all the other taxes though. As long as it is dedicated to transportation infrastructure. Fix the timing on the stop lights and build a DRL. You do those two things and I'll be happy to pay for it.

People who drive into the city and don't pay property taxes are still paying through their employer's commercial property taxes(which are higher than residential). They also buy things while they're here and go out after work. We should be encouraging companies to locate here, and taxing their out of town employees extra will not help. Road tolls on the other hand are not out of the question, but they should go to improving the commute of the people who pay them, so towards GO transit and highway infrastructure, which isn't really Toronto's concern.
Adjei replying to a comment from annoyed / April 16, 2013 at 02:08 pm
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We cannot just use subways as the only way to expand our transit system. We need a mix of BRT, LRT, subways, and GO trains to expand the system for Toronto and the entire region. With the costs of subways now around 400 million for every kilometre, I doubt we can even afford to even if the new revenue tools.
oops / April 16, 2013 at 02:08 pm
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Wtf happened to the payroll tax? That's the fairest way to get $ from the out of towners who work here, use the f"ing infrastructure, and pay nothing into it.

A sales tax doesn't hit the out of towers hard enough.

annoyed replying to a comment from Alex / April 16, 2013 at 02:16 pm
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The DVP and the Gardiner are municipal roads, not provincial. Further, people will continue to work and spend money in the city even if they are tolled at a reasonable rate. It is a fallacy to think that commuters will quit their jobs to take jobs in the 'burbs to avoid a modest toll on a daily-basis.
amir / April 16, 2013 at 02:18 pm
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Hate taxes as much as I hate Ford and the idea of a casino. Why do I feel like we're somehow being coaxed to choose the bloody casino? It's like they are putting 2 pieces of poo in front of us and expect us to sniff and lick it and say which one we prefer..
couch potato / April 16, 2013 at 02:25 pm
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What ever is decided must be across the board to effect everyone not just drivers or just transit riders. A sales taxes would be the fairest of all the choices.
asdasf replying to a comment from Enough / April 16, 2013 at 02:25 pm
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so @enough, you're saying that the cyclists (i.e. those that dont contibute to the traffic problem) pay for the new transit?

That makes sense! Keep the good ideas coming.
billy / April 16, 2013 at 02:32 pm
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tax the drivers for the fuel that they consume. bump up the financial cost of driving so public transit becomes the cheaper alternative.
annoyed replying to a comment from billy / April 16, 2013 at 02:36 pm
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unfortunately, commuters buy their gas in the suburbs...
Dale / April 16, 2013 at 02:47 pm
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The two step process makes sense. I think these transit projects have to prove their viability as we go along if hope to implement the full range of revenue options to pay for them.

Let's face it, this is all going to be a tough sell.

I think Enough might be on to something though. If we implement a $300 license fee for every cyclist we could pay for transit expansion that would alleviate congestion for automobile drivers. Maybe we could saddle the cyclists with a carbon tax too so that drivers won't have to worry about that either.
Alex replying to a comment from annoyed / April 16, 2013 at 02:58 pm
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My bad, I didn't know we owned the DVP.

Like I said, I support highway tolls, just not payroll taxes (unless they are province or GTA wide). BUT, you can't toll the DVP, and then use it to build transit in another part of the city. It would have to go toward alternatives to the DVP or improving the DVP. Adding lanes won't help much, it's been proven they'll just be filled and we'll be back where we started. The other option is to improve GO service, which Toronto doesn't manage or own. Is there any Toronto specific route that DVP users could take that we could improve? I always assumed the majority of DVP users came from outside the city and so taking anything but the GO wouldn't be an option for them.

The Gardiner we should definitely toll, just to maintain the road and keep it standing.
Immigrant The Idiot / April 16, 2013 at 03:04 pm
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....and for that they will contract another 987 new employees.
bob / April 16, 2013 at 03:09 pm
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You can't start charging tolls on roads if there is no proper transit alternatives available to compensate for the highway routes into the city. Gas, property and sale taxes are the first step in building a transit system. Once a stronger system is in place you, can choose to enact toll and congestion charges and people will have frequent transit alternatives into the city
D / April 16, 2013 at 03:14 pm
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I like the idea of charging the people that are contributing to the problem (e.g. commuters from outside the city) rather than people that are not contributing to the problem, particularly those that don't drive and/or use the TTC.

Most/all these taxes will affect those living and spending within the city and have little effect on the problematic commuter traffic that lives and spends mostly outside the city. That being said, I would vote for tolls above all other suggestions if the money were to be directly funneled into transit. However, if the money is redistributed for general infrastructure then I think Toronto denizens need to put in a share as well.


Tolls for non-municipal highways can be implemented upon exiting the highway. i.e. to drive past the city costs nothing, but if you want to exit into the city you need to pay. These things can and should be completely automated. The problem however with tolls over taxes is that I suspect there is more overhead to implement tolls than just raising taxes.
Steven / April 16, 2013 at 03:22 pm
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TaxUS! I'd prefer a 1% sales tax and higher development fees and a %5 sales tax on all gas sold in the GTA/GHA! Let's build up transit and it'll make the war on the car a moot argument as congestion could lessen if we building responsible/accessible transit lines!
Scottd replying to a comment from Enough / April 16, 2013 at 03:39 pm
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Whats it like living in the 1950's?
I think that... / April 16, 2013 at 03:54 pm
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We should open a casino to offset the need for taxes.
Another Thought / April 16, 2013 at 04:23 pm
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I am not against taxing.. I just want to make sure the taxes currently collected are being used as efficiently as possible. Given the current state of affairs.. I just have no belief that this is the case.
Adjei replying to a comment from I think that... / April 16, 2013 at 05:00 pm
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Yeah and I guess a casino would generate the billions each year needed to expend transit in the GTA.
Mark / April 16, 2013 at 05:13 pm
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Direct the gas tax already charged to drivers to transit or road maintenance projects and not general revenue. Just think,had the liberal government not wasted hundreds of millions on the power plant cancellations, Ornge, and e-Health, we would have lots of money for transit, health care etc. Aren't you glad Toronto ensured they were re-elected.
Half-wit Moron / April 16, 2013 at 05:14 pm
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tax everybody except me.
Adjei replying to a comment from Mark / April 16, 2013 at 05:26 pm
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Even if that wasted money is there, there is no guarantee that it would be used to build transit. This is the problem with depending on the province for transit expansion, we will only expand transit when the province or federal government feels like shoving money our way and this usually has to do with them needing to votes. We need dedicated funding so that we can be expanding transit all the time and not when the other levels of government decide to shove money our way.
Craig replying to a comment from Mark / April 16, 2013 at 05:41 pm
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We'd be generating million of $ if Harris hadn' t sold off the 407 for pennies on the dollar to his buddies.

I can play the blame game too. It doen't solve any problems though.

Are you now agling for a job with Doug Ford, Mr. Towhey? Given up on Rob?
Jay / April 16, 2013 at 07:40 pm
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Not interested in paying any new taxes until politicians can prove they'll be responsible with the revenue. Their history tells. Me most of the taxes collected will be spent on administration, studies, etc. When they show they can spend wisely ill be willing to talk about more.

Tax free day is almost July as it is. Just how much more do we need to give?? Will everyone not be happy until we hand over all out money to the government to be redistributed?
Mark replying to a comment from Craig / April 16, 2013 at 07:44 pm
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Harris was dumb for selling the 407. Doesn't change the fact that we'd have billions more now if McGuinty and Wynne didn't blow our tax money buying elections and squandering it on frivolous pet projects that lined their donor's pockets. The Liberals got us into this underfunded mess and you think giving them more tax money will get us out of it? How much did you make off e-health? You have some deal with Ornge?
Obvious / April 16, 2013 at 08:10 pm
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@Mark, that's why I vote for the NDP. Maybe you should too.
David / April 16, 2013 at 08:38 pm
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Noone seems to be suggesting a $60 vehicule registration fee. I wonder why?
Craig replying to a comment from Mark / April 16, 2013 at 09:00 pm
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If i made money off ornge or e-health it's news to me. I agree that the recent bunch of money wasting scandles are very bad, the liberals should be held accountable for the crap that happened on their watch.
ttraveller / April 16, 2013 at 10:31 pm
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And if you believe that a "dedicated transit tax" will actually be spent on transit in this town, boy do I have a great piece of Florida swampland for you. Toronto's transit recipe: $50 million on Consultant reports; then beg the Province and Feds for more money; then build something 200% over budget and 5 years late; do over.
Allurban / April 17, 2013 at 12:05 am
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For those who don't know, there is already a great deal of money coming out of the provincial and federal gas taxes (something like 5c per litre from each) which had been specifically dedicated for transit, approximately $160 million from the province. Unfortunately it is not enough to cover the cost of the new projects that are needed ..
Not to mention all the important projects that are missing from The Big Move.

I think that the proposed sales tax increase should be province-wide and dedicated to transport ... roads, highways, bridges and transit as each city needs. That way there will be an improvement to infrastructure in Ontario as a whole, and there will be few issues of leakage. It will probably cost less than having a regional tax increase.

Parking levies have not been properly explained to the public and this certainly needs to be done. There will also have to be another look at payroll taxes.

On the topic of tolls, the only way to make our roads work effectively is if there is an incentive for HOV users. The best way to do that would be to convert all of the express lanes on GTA highways to HOV lanes, but allow SOV/non-HOV users to pay to use the expanded HOV network. Making the express lanes HOV and putting tolls on would be better than having just a single HOV or HOT lane because it would create a network criss-crossing the GTA, encourage transit use (by making buses travel faster) and encourage HOV travel. It would also cost less than tolls since there would need to be fewer toll gantries (if we put them at collector-express transfers) than if we toll the entire highway (at each on-ramp and off-ramp).

Since tolls are not going to be a significant source of revenue, we need to be careful in implementation and find the best way to get the greatest benefit at the lowest cost.
Fantomex replying to a comment from Adjei / April 17, 2013 at 04:35 am
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Actually, all we can afford is just the extension to Vaughn and the DRL; we really should be building Transit City to what it was supposed to be built to (including the Jane line that would have gone to Jane/Finch and revitalized that area) and nothing else than that.
B / April 17, 2013 at 10:16 am
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Woo. Higher taxes! Taxes are already so low in the great city of Toronto, what's the problem? It's not like government pisses away tax money or anything. And the TTC is probably one of the best managed transit systems in the world, so throwing more money at it would certainly improve things.

Oh... wait.
"Enough" is Wrong replying to a comment from Enough / April 17, 2013 at 05:12 pm
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Re-instate the Vehicle Registration TAx...motorists have it to easy.

All you have to do is run the numbers to see that motorists are getting off scott free...where arethe tolled highways like in the States??? Tax these freeloading buggers!
You seel real estate?? replying to a comment from ttraveller / April 17, 2013 at 06:08 pm
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Whereabouts in Florida?
B makes a good point. replying to a comment from B / April 17, 2013 at 06:10 pm
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We should raise taxes, and likely on vehicles to help pay for transit and for BIXI upkeep. Where I say we might want to be careful though is to not raise them too much--needs to be a balance.
Simon / April 18, 2013 at 02:57 am
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Hike the fines for parking in the bike lane until everyone who parks in the bike lane is smuggling heroin in their anuses to pay the fine. And no weaseling or lawyering-- if your car occupies a bike lane for any period of time, open up your anus already.
RishiL / April 19, 2013 at 10:47 am
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It's plainly obvious that all of the people in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (so GTHA + KWC/Guelph + caledon + peterborough etc), qualities of life are impacted by congestion. It doesn't matter whether or not you stay in your municipality or travel cross-boundary, there has been a gap in infrastructure investment for a generation (and more).

People from the area love to cite all the great surveys of where Toronto (and I use that term generally and liberally for the region) ranks on worldwide evaluations for economy, lifestyle, weather, opportunity etc. It truly is an awesome place to live (and I have lived in the UK, TX, AB & ON), but we are going to fall from grace quickly in the next 2 decades. There is going to be another 5M people moving to the region.. how are we going to accommodate them? If you include the Toronto, Hamilton & Oshawa CMAs, we're already breaching 7M people and the outward suburban expansion has been capped by the green belt & places to grow legislation and the advent of smart urban planning recently.

That means intensification & density, if you think congestion is going to increase linearly going forward, you are in for a cruel wake up call.

Cities & regions the world over have ALL implemented transportation dedicated revenue tools (the list is huge, but LA, NYC, Vancouver, Montreal, London, etc etc etc.) and they have great transportation systems that we all salivate over. We NEED revenue tools or our region will collapse under its own weight and population growth.

We need revenue tools that are easy and cheap to implement. HOT, road tolls, VKT, congestion charges etc. will require years and years of infrastructure investment so our payback period is a decade plus out before we see revenue. Things like payroll tax, development charges, sales tax, income tax, inc. corp tax are easy to implement. You change 1 number and boom. These do need to be implemented piecemeal and gradually so the region sees the benefits then there will be even more buy-in. LA did this 3 times because of the success.

For all the haters, if you take the time to understand the issue and realize the problems and what the sol'n means... i.e. a committed & stable revenue stream so politicizing doesn't botch projects, the answer is simple. Taxes aren't evil if they are used correctly
Serb / April 19, 2013 at 02:27 pm
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Instead of increasing taxes, why not decrease the spending that's already in place? Fire a bunch of useless pencil pushers from the city's administration (do we really need all these people arguing all day and night about nothing with 6 figure salaries in place?), cut the funding to Police department ($1 BILLION a year budget for cops? seriously?!) and there you have it - easy money found right there.
James replying to a comment from anon / April 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm
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I agree! Let the people who don't live in the city but want to drive in pay for the transportation in and out of the city and to fix the gardiner. Go ahead, put usage based tolls on the highways. (I am an occasional driver who lives in Toronto)
Sean / April 21, 2013 at 05:33 pm
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TAX THE TRANSIT RIDERS & nobody else!!!
Don't Tax Dave / April 23, 2013 at 12:08 pm
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Metrolinks and other gov. bodies will try to have us believe they've whittled 25 different taxes for public transit to a short list of 11. That's a load of crap.

Fact is, there are only three types of new taxes (or "revenue tools" for those who don't mind having their intelligence insulted) being suggested.

1. Make the user pay - Increase user fees (fares)
This will never work in Toronto, since our city is made up of mostly Lefties and they only like taxes when other people have to pay them.

2. Tax everyone equally - Sales, Payroll and Property Tax hikes
This is the most fair and reasonable idea, but again, in a Lefty city like TO it won't work, since Lefties are not interested in paying their fair share.

3. Tax one segment only - Toll, Gas & Parking Taxes
This is what will likely happen, since the Lefties who ride the rocket get out of paying their fair share. Car drivers already pay a HUGE amount of fuel taxes, not to mention the sales taxes on purchasing and insuring a vehicle. They should not be expected to carry the load for the Lefty freeloaders.

Bottom line: Any politician who votes for the #3 option should be voted out of office in the next election.

Simply, either we ALL pay equally for better transit, or we don't pay at all. And better transit means underground transit, not freakin' streetcars. No more St Clair catastrophes, please.
the lemur replying to a comment from Don't Tax Dave / April 23, 2013 at 01:21 pm
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1. Increasing fares discourages people from using transit = more people will find a way to drive = more congestion.

The user pay idea should also be applied to road users, but then the right seems largely allergic to applying the capitalist user-pay idea in this area.

2. Opposed by the right, because taxes.

3. Lefties also drive. And that 'huge amount' of fuel taxes and other expenses doesn't go directly to roads or transit and in any case doesn't even come close to paying for it.
Don't Tax Dave replying to a comment from the lemur / April 23, 2013 at 03:39 pm
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1. Thanks Lemur, you're exactly right. Those who ride public transit don't want to pay the fare and will move to another mode of transportation if we dare ask them to.

2. Sorry, those I know on the right support fare taxation. What they oppose is having a Liberal government force higher taxes on us because the gov. is broke after flushing billions down the drain moving gas plants, on eHealth, Ornge, etc... If you want to convince people to support higher taxes you need to make it fair and be able to prove you won't waste the money. So far the Lefties in power have failed on both acconts.

3. Where the HUGE amount of fuel tax goes is not the fault of those stuck paying it, now is it. It's SUPPOSED to go to raods and infrastructure. In other words, it's sort of a USER fee.

Back to #1: If you are REALLY concerned about congestion, you wouldn't only support more taxes for public transit if that transit was located underground.

The Lefties have a bad habit of pointing to world class cities and bitching that we aren't taxing nearly enough taxes like they do in those cities. But when it comes to things like a world class subway system, they change their tune.

You want to ease congestion: stop putting bike lanes everywhere and start putting public transportation underground. Bike lanes should be places with thought and care, not David Miller style.
the lemur replying to a comment from Don't Tax Dave / April 23, 2013 at 04:23 pm
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2. Do you mean 'fair' taxation? Has a conservative mayor like Ford or a conservative provincial government actually proposed taxing everyone equally/proportionally to pay for something like this? With similar promises not to waste it?

3. Correct, but this has been the situation for quite a while and no government of any stripe has appeared interested in making the application of those taxes more direct.

Back to 1. Wait, are you saying that more taxes for transit is not just a good idea for underground transit? Because the issue with underground transit is that it costs more to begin with, which means raising taxes more, or at least collecting them for longer. I'm not so concerned with transit being underground vs above ground as long as the cost isn't disproportionate to the area and population it's intended to serve. Right now, a subway through most of Scarborough is overkill, given its (projected) density.

A world-class subway system in this city, as it is now and will be well into the future, would involve adding at least one more underground line through the core, to alleviate pressure on the existing lines (too late to add capacity to those, even with express trains). Building a subway line outside the core, where the density and population don't warrant one, only serves to feed even more commuters into the existing lines.

I'm all for underground transit - where it makes and where the expense is warranted.

Bike lanes aren't being put 'everywhere' - they're still on less than 0.5% of roads in the city - and they mostly don't take up enough space that removing them would do very much to add to space for other traffic.

A bike lane placed with thought and care - would that be like the Jarvis ones that Mammoliti approved, or the Sherbourne ones that DMW was responsible for that drivers treat as parking spaces? Or something else?
Don't Tax Dave / April 24, 2013 at 10:36 am
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Lemur:
Yes, sorry, I meant "fair" taxation. As for Ford, well, as much as I support his ideas, I think he's just too narrow minded about many issues (not to mention the messes he keeps getting himself into).
I agree with him that we are already all very much over-taxed. However, I also readily admit we won't get better public transportation without additional taxation. I'm willing to pay my fair share, as long as the Lefties are paying theirs.
I'd like to see a payroll tax, sales tax and a fare increase, all dedicated to the public transit file. With the fare increase, I'd like to see a buck a ride, but anyone earning less than $50K annually would get to write off that buck come tax time. This way only the rich folks who can afford to live downtown where they work, which makes public transit use for them a convenience, will be paying more. Like you said, charge too much and folks will stop using it and we don't want that.

I disagree with your assessment on underground transit. If decades ago we'd made the decision to build subways based on density, we would not have moved ahead with them. With subways comes condos. I suspect that an Eglinton subway across the whole city would quickly become used to capacity (quickly = a couple of decades). What we don't want to do is wait until it's needed to try to build it, which is exactly the mess we are in now.

Bike Lanes: I don't mind them, but we need to keep them off of the arteries, like Jarvis. David Miller said the Jarvis bike lane would add a mere two minutes drive-time to the daily commute. But it's not drive-time, is it. It's idling time, due to the added congestion. And we know that's the worst type of vehicle polution. Based on Miller's own assessment, that's 28,000 cars x 2 minutes, which equates to 900 additional hours of idling time on Jarvis alone. Really bad for the environment, if you ask me. Thank god Ford had sense enough to fix this.

The bike lane on Eastern Ave is another sorry joke. I mean, we already have one a block south on its own trail. Why do we need to add to the congestion? Simply, we don't.

The whole bike lane argument does not seem to take into account we live in a city where winter prevents bike use for at least four months a year, if not more.

I think the biggest problem with this whole war on cars is that the Left is under the sorry dillusion that you can tax people onto public transit. Sorry, you can't. I remember back when gas cost $0.67 a GALLON! Lefties back then argued that if you jacked up the price people would stop driving and use public transit. Gas is what, like eight times more costly yet we have WAY more vehicles on the road (per capita) than back then it was $0.67 a gallon.

Back in 2008 when the markets crashed and the world was thrown into the worst recession in many decades, new and used vehicle sales INCREASED! What does this tell us: You CAN'T win the war on cars, period.

The best bet is to embrace this fact and do everything in your power to mitigate congestion, which means subways and smartly placed bike lanes.
the lemur replying to a comment from Don't Tax Dave / April 24, 2013 at 11:24 am
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Subways don't necessarily bring condos. The Sheppard line is not bringing the density that was expected, and neither are stretches of the Bloor line or the extensions to the YUS line.

I biked (and drove) on Jarvis before and after the bike lanes went in and the difference was minimal - in fact, almost zero during morning rush hour.

The weather argument against biking is just your own perspective. Winter precludes walking for a lot of people, yet we still have vast stretches of sidewalk.

Yes, there are more vehicles on the road than when gas was $0.67 a gallon, but also a bigger population.

The market crash of 2008 was also accompanied by auto maker bailouts, cash-for-clunkers and other incentives designed specifically to stimulate car purchases. The recession was not intended as a measure in a 'war on cars'.

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