Congestion Pricing is a mature way to pay for transit
TORONTO – JULY 3, 2014 – An intelligent system of congestion charge zones and tolls is the best way for Toronto to handle its immediate and long-term transportation challenges, Mayoral candidate Ari Goldkind stated today. “We must finally begin pricing our gridlocked roads.”
As our City Planner Jennifer Keesmaat has said, “Ignoring the problem is not a solution.” Goldkind states that Toronto needs to follow in the footsteps of cities such as London, Singapore, and Stockholm that have applied intelligent traffic management including GPS based charge zones, in which drivers pay a fee to move through the city at peak hours. Goldkind, a criminal lawyer and advocate of the fair and measured use of local taxes to pay for transit/infrastructure improvement, has also proposed a toll system for the city’s major access routes, the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway.
“We are going there, the smart cities of the world are going there; it is going to happen. Let’s collectively design it ahead of time, in a smart way, rather than have it imposed on us by the wrong people.” Goldkind points out that paying for new transit with raised taxes is also politically unpopular. “Our leaders, on the municipal and provincial levels, will not touch this topic with a ten-foot pole,” he states, “but I am here to make real positive change for the city. I am willing to touch this hot potato– and that is what leadership is about.
“Paying for the use of roads is a simple exercise in supply and demand,” Goldkind states. “Progress in this city has been held back through the false idea called the ‘war on the car’. People have been overusing roads because they are essentially free to use, then they complain about congestion. Charge zones will lighten traffic, and will actually make driving easier, and cheaper.”
Goldkind recognizes that these proposals will not be popular with everyone at first. “Objections to road pricing and tolls are always to be expected,” he says, “but drivers who are sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic are already paying Esso and Petro Canada much more in gas, just sitting there. Charging for road use in this way is an exercise in real political leadership, not pretend. This city has to move forward with real ideas, not just make-do projects. Studies from traffic management experts show that simply adding more roads or more subways will not solve the problem, since more people will simply fill in the spaces left by others. The time has come to decide what our driving and our time is actually worth.
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