The Globe and Mail reports on a new study by Harry Kitchen of Trent University that advocates a fuel tax and new tolls on the GTA+Hamilton's 400 series highways, QEW, DVP, Gardiner and LINC/RHVP to "help governments fund their road and public transit systems, reduce congestion and cut greenhouse gas emissions."
Mr. Kitchen's says tolls would not only reduce gridlock in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton (GTAH), it would also raise badly-needed revenue to fund the massive operating and capital requirements of public transit and roads.
"Much of this infrastructure was built years ago and is nearing the end of its life span," Mr. Kitchen said at a news conference at Queen's Park. "Billions of dollars, perhaps tens of billions, will be required to ensure that the GTAH has the public transportation systems critical to remaining competitive."
According to the report, a toll of 7 cents per kilometre on the 400 series highways in the GTA and Hamilton area would produce $700-million in revenue annually.
Mr. Kitchen also calls for a GTAH-wide fuel tax, set by a governing body and piggybacked onto the provincial fuel tax. The report says the tax would be relatively inexpensive and simple to administer, suggesting a charge of 6 cents per litre would generate between $300- and $420-million a year.
"A municipal fuel tax is a blunter instrument than road tolls for controlling individual behaviour but it is almost certain to have an impact as commuters are likely to drive less if gas prices rise," Mr. Kitchen said.
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