NEWS

Road tolls or sales tax touted for transit expansion

04/26/2012 10:36 EDT | Updated 06/26/2012 05:12 EDT

Toronto Coun. Josh Matlow is pushing for city hall to seriously consider implementing road tolls or a regional sales tax in order to fund transit expansion.

Matlow will introduce a motion next month asking staff to study the establishment of a working group with other municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area to talk about expanding transit through either tolls or a sales tax.

"If we're happy with the status quo, then we can drop this conversation," he told CBC's Metro Morning on Thursday.

"But if we are promising people that we are going to build subways, that we're going to expand transit, that we want to improve state of good repair, deal with the current overcrowding on the current lines, then we need to get real. And I'm just asking us to do that."

Matlow has broached the subject of road tolls before, but he only talked about tolling the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway for people driving into Toronto from surrounding municipalities.

"Some of my colleagues at city council said, 'But what if they reciprocate with their own tolls?,'" he said.

"I'm convinced that it would be more responsible to look regionally."

That stance has put him at odds with Mayor Rob Ford, who has repeatedly said he is against road tolls or a sales tax of any kind. Ford has maintained that subways can be built in Toronto with private sector funding, and has said more time is needed to develop a funding plan to construct subways.

Meanwhile, Matlow will be in a meeting of a group of centrist councillors on Thursday in which they will discuss what they think council's priorities for the next two years should be.

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