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Ontario environmental commissioner recommending road tolls

TORONTO — Another voice is speaking out in support of road tolls.

Ontario’s environmental commissioner said in his annual report the tolls and other charges are needed to help the province cut the greenhouse gases it produces.

Environmental commissioner Gord Miller said he wants a comprehensive assessment of how road tolls can help battle climate change.

Miller said the transportation sector is the single largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario, and steps must be taken to make public transit a more attractive option.

He said many jurisdictions around the world have realized significant environmental, social and economic benefits by putting a price on road use.

Miller’s report said the Liberal government will need to expand its climate-change policy agenda if it hopes to have any chance of reaching its short- and medium-term reduction targets.

Miller does admit most politicians don’t have the stomach for the issue.

“Is it because the government’s high-pressed against us or is it because they’re concerned that the public isn’t interested in this dicussion?,” Miller asked.

Out on the street, many drivers said transit needs to be improved before road tolls are considered.

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous and I think that the government needs to look at other ways to make sure that we have the means to get to work,” one person said.

Others question the motivation for road tolls.

“It’s a tax grab, right … it’s just to get more money for the government,” another Torontonian said.          

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