From the Ottawa Citizen: Council puts road tolls on the transportation agenda
Road tolls could be part of the next transportation master plan if council agrees to study how fees could reduce traffic congestion and pay for maintenance.
Local politicians will turn their minds to road tolls next month because a downtown councillor wants the city to research the potential of charging motorists to use roads in Ottawa.
Capital Coun. David Chernushenko, the environment buff fresh off ushering through a new climate change policy at City Hall, wanted to drive through his proposal this week at the end of a transportation committee meeting, only to have the brakes applied by colleagues around the table. Instead, it will be up for discussion at a meeting in April.
The city should study how forcing motorists to pay user fees on municipal roads could reduce congestion and fund road maintenance, Chernushenko says. He suggests the information should inform the next transportation master plan, City Hall’s key blueprint for expanding road, transit, bike and pedestrian networks.
The committee meeting in April will be the first time councillors have a meaty discussion on tolls and there’s little doubt they’ll hear from residents on the issue. The city would need permission from the province to charge road fees, but green-lighting an $80,000 study would give council an idea about how tolls could work in Ottawa.
The province is experimenting with more toll options on its highways in the Toronto area but it hasn’t extended tolling to municipal roads. A spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation said it’s up to municipalities to ask the province to make a regulation authorizing tolling powers for a road. (Read the full article…)
Stittsville councillor Shad Qadri is quoted in the article about his position:
On the other hand, Stittsville Coun. Shad Qadri said he could support tolls if the money is going to a specific cause, rather than being dumped into a general revenue account. Qadri said if residents of his ward are forced to pay a toll to drive downtown, he would expect the money to be reinvested in Stittsville. “There has to be some benefit to where travellers are coming from,” Qadri said.
TELL US: We would love to hear from readers on this issue. When and where would toll roads be appropriate? How much would you be willing to pay? Do you agree with Councillor Qadri that tolls should be re-invested locally? Add your comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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