Sunday, December 17, 2006

'More HOV lanes planned' Response

To the Editor

In response to the article 'More HOV lanes planned' published on the Wednesday, December 13, 2006 by the Toronto Star, while I believe creating more High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on the 400-series highways (including the Queen Elizabeth Way) is a good start, more aggressive action should be taken, especially in the Greater Toronto Area.

The Highway 401, with its Collector/Express lane system presents a unique opportunity where a tolling system would work in a manner more acceptable to the public. A toll on the Express lanes would still allow for people who don't want to pay tolls to travel the system via the Collector lanes. Transit vehicles, delivery trucks and emergency vehicles would be exempt from any tolls. Users would have a choice in whether they want to pay a toll or not; the highway would still be usable by those that don't want to pay a toll; and the movement of goods through Southern Ontario via Toronto is not compromised.

The money raised through these tolls could go toward 400-series highway maintenance, and also become another source of funding for public transit all throughout Ontario. It would not be too costly a venture to implement this proposal, as existing infrastructure is essentially in place. Electronic tolling stations, similar to those on the 407 Express Toll Route (ETR), could be set up where the 401 Express lanes start and end, as well as all transfer points between the Express and Collector lanes.

Hopefully the Ontario Ministry of Transportation has considered an idea similar to my proposal as something they could implement in the future. It would kill a few birds with one stone.


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2 comments:

Peter Near said...

Good idea Jason, but unfotunately I've become very jaded at the concept of any taxes or tolls that are targeted at roadways. If the concept of tolls on the highway is to introduce a tiered system so that those who pay get a less congested artery, then yes it might work. But the concept of putting tolls on to fund some other development just doesn't fly. If the government actually stuck to any of those promises then things would be very different (ie the gas tax not being spent on roads, the 407 tolls going to a private company, etc).
I've often thought of the lofty ideal that seems to work in some states of "use tolls to fund a road, then take away the tolls once paid off" but we all know that our government(s) would just skim the revenue into general coffers and let the roads continue to deteriorate.
Wow, I sure sound jaded for a 30-year old!

WayneK said...

I like the idea of private roads -sure the tolls on the 407 go to a private company but they have an incentive to add lanes as it increases their revenue as long as the new lanes don't cost more than the future toll revenue. The MTO does not have this incentive. The 407 is a young highway but it has already increased capacity in several areas. And I like the economic incentive of having tolls set high enough that the road moves at the speed limit so that you actually save time by using the toll road. Who wants to pay a toll and be stuck in traffic jams all of the time.