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Road tolls, parking levies, regional gas tax may be on route to ease congestion in GTA

TORONTO, Ont. – Road tolls, parking levies and regional gas taxes may be in the works to help deal with congestion in the Greater Toronto Area.

In a report obtained by The Toronto Star, taxes could increase as much as $1-2 billion annually for transit improvements.

The report acknowledged congestion as a problem and suggested measures to ease it. It proposed remedies to raise money to improve public transit; a regional gas tax of up to 20 cents a litre; a parking space levy of $2 a day; road tolls on 400-series highways of 10 – 20 cents per kilometre, and a fee to drive into the downtown area – which is common in places like London, England.

The report also suggested road tolls are no longer a taboo subject.

Everyone agrees congestion is a growing a problem, said the report’s co-author Andrew Bevan of Sustainable Prosperity. He said the question now is how to fix it and pay for it, adding that research has shown that tolls and congestion charges, while unpopular in the beginning, become acceptable when they produce results.

From 1986 – 2006, about 56 per cent of road lanes were extended in Toronto, but during that same time there was a 106 per cent rise in traffic.

The report comes only a few weeks after the Toronto Board of Trade released a discussion paper outlining revenue tools and cost-saving mechanisms that could fund Metrolinx’s bold regional transportation.

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