Later today, Mayor Tory is expected to announce his support for road tolls on both the Don Valley Parkway (DVP) and the Gardiner Expressway.
While the price of tolls has not yet been released, if pay tolls are then set at $2, revenue generated from placing them on two of Toronto’s major highways is estimated to be between $150-$250 million per year. And Toronto’s coffers definitely need that money.
Faced with making the choice between raising property taxes (a minimum of 5% to earn the necessary money), selling Toronto Hydro, or implementing pay tolls on the two roads, Tory will outline in a speech called ‘Time to Build’ why he chose the last option. Not surprisingly, it has to do with the fact that despite 40 per cent of trips on the Gardiner and DVP originating from outside Toronto’s borders, the city is stuck with 100% of the bill for the roads’ operating and maintenance costs.
It’s worth noting that all of the money earned from these tolls will be dedicated exclusively to building (and re-building) transit and infrastructure projects like the Downtown Relief Line, SmartTrack and the Gardiner.
The Mayor is also expected to address the following reforms and tax measures:
- Move to change the voluntary visitor fee to a mandatory Hotel Tax applied evenly to all hotels and online accommodations in Toronto, including Airbnb.
- End the City’s Vacant Unit Property Tax Rebate, which will save the city as much as $20-million.
- Invest in Toronto Hydro rather than sell, keeping the utility in public hands.
More to come following Mayor Tory’s speech.