Did you hear that Toronto Council is now considering making the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway toll roads? This is hardly the first time the suggestion has been made and it is probably not the last. It shows you how desperate the city is for revenue other than taxing businesses and homes.
When the Toronto voters chose John Tory as mayor two years ago, it was in high hopes that he would bring a businesslike and workable approach to the city’s financial woes. Mind you there is nothing new in these woes and nothing really new in Tory’s various solutions.
But surprisingly there was general approval by the pundits in Tory’s midterm reports recently. Despite the poor guy wrecking his home life and working day and night to satisfy his constituents, the problems he faces are the same ole-same ole! It is an impossible task.
The problem is that the province holds all the cards and only deals them to the city as necessary for political advantage. The mayor might get the big bucks and the prestige of the chain of office but it is a job without joy. It is an attempt to lead without followers. Tory will always have more followers on Facebook than on city council.
You have to remember that the mayor might have some perks but he or she has only one vote on council. And the knives are now out on his taking leadership on the road tolls for the Gardiner and the Don Valley Parkway.
Without getting into the merits, or lack thereof, in the toll plan, it has all the earmarks of a trap for the unwary. It is not going to happen without specific approval from the province. And the possibilities of bringing any strong support from city council are close to nil.
The province can hang Tory by the thumbs at the first expressway overpass and laugh as he swings in the breeze. His entire case hangs on the assumption that 40 per cent of the Parkway and Expressway users are from out of town. You know it is alright for him to screw those people. The problem will be in the 60 per cent of users who already pay more than enough to park on those parking lots in morning and evening rushhours.
Maybe John can charge half the price per toll for plates showing a Toronto address and full price for the outsiders?
Or, even better, we could have responsible government for the city through the encouragement of political parties on the municipal scene. It would be nice to see a mayor and councillors elected on a party platform and then have to stand for re-election on its success or failure.
Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry
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