Toronto’s mayor says action is finally being taken to address issues with the city’s budget.
Mayor John Tory spoke with media members about the Executive Committee meeting Thursday afternoon. The agenda includes nine potential options for generating money in Toronto.
The mayor previously announced his pitch for road tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway, which aims to raise much-needed funds for various infrastructure projects including public transit.
He says it will “finally allow us to actually get on with building some of the projects that councils in the past have taken great pleasure and pride in approving, but with no money attached, no ability to pay.”
The mayor was bringing forward two other measures at Thursday’s meeting, including the introduction of a hotel tax “like those used in many, many other cities in the world” and to get rid of the vacant property tax rebate.
Tory has faced wide criticism for proposing road toll taxes, but says someone has to do it.
“There’s not a single suggestion I could put forward that involves taking in the money necessary to build this transit to fix the traffic that is going to be universally popular,” he says. “I fully understand people are struggling out there.”
The mayor urges anyone who disagrees with his proposal to make suggestions for what the city could do instead.
“If you want to live in a city [in the future] that is so much worse in terms of its congestion… if you want to go on for 25 more years kicking stuff down the road, which previous city councils have done, then we could just not have this discussion,” says Mayor John Tory.
“But I’m not prepared to be that kind of mayor.”
If approved, city staff will take a look at various options for the road tolls, including a flat fee or higher charges at peak times. At that point, a report will be brought back to council with recommendations for moving forward.
A toll imposed on the Gardiner and DVP could generate at least $160-million per year.