Toronto Mayor John Tory’s support for road tolls on the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway will be tested as councillors begin debating the controversial topic at city hall this week.
The mayor, who had previously shunned the idea of road tolls, said last month he is now in favour of implementing the user fee to help pay for transit and infrastructure costs.
Tory said a $2 road toll would raise over $200 million annually.
About 228,000 vehicles travel on the Gardiner east of Highway 427 on a daily basis while about 100,000 drive on the DVP north of the Bayview-Bloor exit.
Critics argue road tolls will place another financial burden on commuters and may cause traffic to disperse onto city streets causing further congestion.
If city council approves, the province still needs to rubber stamp the plan. Premier Kathleen Wynne suggested last week she won’t oppose it.
VIDEO: John Tory joins Farah Nasser to talk about road tolls
Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown wants the Liberals to reject tolls and said he’d rescind any such provincial approval if the Tories win the 2018 election.
The New Democrats also oppose road tolls and said both the federal and provincial governments must provide a lot more funding for municipal transit systems.
Tory said he would also support additional measures, such as ending a property tax rebate for vacant commercial and industrial property owners and implementing a hotel tax, to help pad the city’s revenue stream.
City council is scheduled to be in session Tuesday and Wednesday with Thursday added if needed.
VIDEO: Toronto Mayor John Tory is not backing down on the idea of road tolls for the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway that he pitched last week. Mark McAllister reports