Comment 87986

By adrian (registered) | Posted April 19, 2013 at 14:20:03

I believe that Wynne's conversation about transit funding is courageous for two reasons: first, because it is necessary and second, because it is unpopular. For a politician, that is pretty extraordinary.

What I didn't mention in my article is that I've been voting NDP since I was old enough to vote. I've had orange signs on my lawn every election. But on this subject, the NDP has lost me.

I'm fine with corporations helping to pay for our infrastructure. As you pointed out, they've been helping to pay for our infrastructure for decades, and they continue to pay for that infrastructure. So do all of us taxpayers, myself included. But I don't see any compelling reason why road users should not also directly contribute to the infrastructure that they depend on. This is hardly revolutionary: if I want to take the bus, I have to pay for it. If I want to take the train, I have to pay for it.

Moreover, these types of charges have an immediate positive impact - they cause people to reconsider trips that they either don't need to make, or can make at different times of the day. You could also argue that charging 5 cents for a plastic bag at the grocery store also "hurts everyday families" who are just trying to buy food for their kids, but as we've seen, this practice has greatly reduced the number of plastic bags that are used, with widespread benefits.

Charging user fees (such as congestion charges and tolls) for road use is a system that is working in many other places across the globe, especially in places that most closely share the progressive values that are at the bedrock of the NDP. There's no reason it can't work here. And when it comes to working families, Wynne's comment that, "I think what doesn’t make sense is to ask the working mom to commute for three hours from Scarborough to downtown to her job, or to drop off her child at day care, and not have a decent way of getting to her workplace and getting home," is bang on.

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