How much do you think good transit is worth?

Squeezing in. If you’re a commuter in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, it’s something you have to deal with on a daily basis. Whether you’re squeezing onto the streetcar or subway, keeping your space in the bike lane, or merging on the highway, you’re experiencing the consequences of inaction on infrastructure development.
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© Michael Buckley / WWF-Canada

Things can and will be better – the GTHA transportation authority Metrolinx has a plan called the Big Move that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and commuting time; however, there’s one thing standing between us and transportation bliss – MONEY.
Investing in infrastructure in Toronto is not cheap – to fulfill the Big Move, we need to invest $2 billion per year – and now the question is: who pays? Luckily, there are many examples in other cities that we can look to. No public transit system can survive or grow based on user fares alone and New York, Paris, London, Montreal and Vancouver all have interesting revenue generating tools that we can consider. Look for a new blog in the near future that compares how other cities fund their transit systems.
Here in Toronto, the important discussion of how we should pay for new infrastructure to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions has officially begun. Yesterday, the Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBoT) made their recommendations with the following statement.
“The debate is no longer if we need new revenue tools, but which ones. The Board is advancing for discussion, four revenue tools that are balanced, fair and economically responsible. They are:
–a regional sales tax – a 1% sales tax in the GTHA would result in $1.0 – $1.6 billion per year
–a parking space levy – a $1/space/day charge would result in $1.2 – $1.6 billion per year
–a regional fuel tax – a charge of 10 cents/litre would result in $640 – $840 million per year
–High-occupancy toll lanes (allowing single-occupancy vehicles to access HOV lanes, for a price) – a charge of 30 cents/km for single drivers would result in $25 – $45 million per year.  

By making specific recommendations, the TRBoT is challenging Torontonians to consider and debate the transit funding solutions that will work best for their city.
Let us know what you think about the TRBoT’s recommendations! Learn more about other revenue generating tools.