04/30/2012 11:46 EDT | Updated 06/30/2012 05:12 EDT

Tolls or taxes: how should public transit development be funded?

Citizens will have their chance to weigh in on tolls and taxes as public consultations examining how to pay for public transit in the greater Montreal area get underway Monday night in Vaudreuil.

The meeting is the first of five that will take place over the next few weeks.

The idea is to find new ways of funding improvements and consolidation of public transit in the greater Montreal area, which will require an investment of more than $23 billion over the next decade according to the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, the planning organization behind the consultations.

Several municipalities and organizations have already submitted memorandums on their ideas, but citizens can also have their say.

Some of the proposals include tolls on bridges – an idea popular with island municipalities, but some off-island municipalities say that isn't a fair option. They suggest putting tolls at strategic locations on highways both on and off the island.

Other municipalities have suggested changing the fare zones for commuter trains. In its memorandum, a group representing the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region suggested that a special tax could be imposed on the sale of bottled water to generate funds for public transit.

The five scheduled meetings are:

- April 30, Vaudreuil-Dorion

- May 1, Bois-des-Filion

- May 2, Laval

- May 8, Longueuil

- May 9, Montreal

For details on meeting locations and times, see the Plan métropolitain d'aménagement et de développement's website.