Mayor John Tory’s executive committee has unanimously approved asking the province for the power to introduce road tolls and a tax on hotels and short-term accommodations.
The proposed revenue tools and taxes are needed to help fill a $33-billion gap in unfunded projects.
Tory has thrown his support behind road tolls and a hotel tax, and he challenged his detractors on Thursday to step up with alternatives.
“If they are opposed, I think they have an obligation to expose what they would do instead,” Tory said during a break from the meeting.
Coun. Joe Cressy supports the proposal for road tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway.
“It’s good to see that the mayor has recognized that we have a revenue problem, that we need to invest more and get more money to build a strong city for the future,” he said. “The proposal to bring tolls in as part of that solution is a good start.”
But outspoken Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti thinks road tolls would only cause more congestion on Toronto’s side streets.
“What (Tory’s) going to do is create a network of traffic through the city because all of those people who work outside of the city of Toronto are going to take our side streets to get to work now.”
Mammoliti brought a pair of boxing gloves to Thursday’s meeting to symbolize his fight against the proposed taxes and revenue tools that he feels take advantage of taxpayers.
“I’ve started a campaign to fight taxes and fees,” he said. “It’s a campaign to defend the taxpayers, the car driver. This budget is about hitting seniors in the wallet with taxes. I want to defend those seniors…and those car drivers from tolls.
“These are Mayor Tory’s taxes. And I’ll make sure that everyone in the city knows that the mayor is leading the tax increase and the fees and I want to fight it.”
Other options that were debated included a $120 vehicle registration tax and an alcohol tax.