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Letter from Mayor Tory Re: Road Tolls

[Download Original PDF of letter]

22 December, 2016

Attn: Councillor Mark Grimes
Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West, Suite C48
Toronto, Ontario  M5H 2N2

Re: Road Tolls

Dear Councillor Grimes,

Thank you for your letter of November 24 requesting that any study, report or investigation into the implementation of road tolls prioritizes and thoroughly investigates the short-­‐‑ and long-­‐‑term impacts on the Ward 6 community. As we discussed in our recent meeting on this issue, I am committed to working together as this process unfolds, to address and mitigate the potential impacts you raise.

As you highlight in your letter, investment in infrastructure is critical. Years of underinvestment in transit, in particular, have created mounting challenges associated with traffic and congestion, and we simply cannot go on this way. As we work together to identify efficiencies and opportunities to modernize City Hall, we must also honestly recognize that, in order to build the transit that we require to address the City’s traffic and congestion challenges, we need new revenue sources.

At our most recent meeting, City Council took the decision to ask the Province for permission to implement tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway. My support for this new revenue source is based on the fact that 40% of Gardiner and DVP users live outside Toronto, and currently pay no direct costs for using highways that are operated and maintained by the City. For a $2 toll, drivers from inside and outside the city can contribute towards the urgently required rehabilitation of the Gardiner Expressway, and to the expansion of our transit network. In lieu of massive property tax increases, or a sale of Toronto Hydro that could adversely impact hydro rates, I believe this is the best way to raise the revenue that we require.

As you note, Transportation Services is currently carrying out a Transportation Master Plan (TMP) Environmental Assessment for the Park Lawn Lake Shore area that will consider transportation network improvements needed to address existing congestion and future growth. The study commenced in April 2016 and is targeted for completion in late 2017/early 2018. There are a number of area studies and initiatives, such as the Waterfront Reset study, with which the TMP will be coordinated. Public consultation and stakeholder engagement are key components of the TMP.

At Council, I was pleased to support your motion that the road tolling study curently underway investigate specifically the impacts on local roads in Ward 6, the Park Lawn Lakershore TMP and other current traffic initiatives in the area. As we proceed on these important projects, I am committed to working with you to address area residents’ concerns about the impacts that road tolling could have on local traffic in the Park Lawn and Lake Shore area. With the report on the tolling study work due in 2017, the findings from this study will inform development of the Park Lawn Lakeshore TMP.

Thank you again for your letter. I look forward to continued discussion with you on this issue, as we work together to address the needs of ward 6 and the city.

Yours,

John Tory
Mayor of Toronto

CC:  John Livey, Deputy City Manager
Barbara Gray, General Manager, Transportation Services
Bruce Clayton, Manager, Traffic Operations, Etobicoke York
Edward Presta, Project Manager, Infrastructure Planning
Justin Di Ciano, Councillor, Ward 5 Etobicoke-­‐‑Lakeshore
Don Henderson, President, Humber Bay Shores Condominium Association Chris Moore, President, Mimico Residents Association
Werner Schwarz, Co-­‐‑chair, Mystic Pointe & Area Residents’ Association Bryan Pett, Co-­‐‑chair, Mystic Pointe & Area Residents’ Association

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