Over the years, I’ve used this space a number of times to voice my displeasure with the ETR407 toll road north of Toronto.
Outlandish tolls, ghost charges (being billed for trips when the vehicle in question didn’t leave the driveway or was out of the country), commercial vehicle bias – there have been a bucketful of issues with this highway and the way it’s run. It reminds me of the troll living under a bridge – a modern day fairytale without the “fairy” – pay the fee or a big ugly monster will make you. To this day, I curse the Conservatives for putting us in this position.
I’ve tried my best to boycott this money making machine. At times, when a 30-minute drive across the top of the 401 has turned into a two-hour nightmare, I question my self- imposed boycott. Once I arrive at my destination, just knowing I made another trip without lining the pockets of the 407 makes it all worthwhile.
I do admit, it’s getting harder and harder not to make the jog north to the land of open highway. Our city’s infrastructure needs help, and fast. It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
Metrolinx, an agency of our provincial government, was formed to solve this mess. Needless to say, it has its hands full. It’s going to take time and money (lots of it) to improve our transportation systems and it won’t happen without you and me paying for it. Some of the funding suggestions include an additional 1% HST tax, and yes, an increased fuel tax.
The 407 extension to the east will help, but use it only if you’re prepared to pay the piper. This part of the toll road is in fact owned by the government (aka you and me) but apparently is not being funded by any of the MetroLinx recommendations.
We’ll pay to use it until the cost to build the highway is paid, then we’ll continue to pay just because that’s how it works. No matter who is behind our provincial wheel at the time, they won’t let such a hefty revenue generator slip through their fingers. Let’s all do our best to make sure this revenue doesn’t go into the general administration fund (can you say tire tax)?
We are about to make some very important decisions concerning the future of transportation. Let’s do our best to get it right, the first time.