Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Drivers should pay more road tolls, gas levies and congestion charges: study

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Canadian Press

“People are now recognizing that something has to be done,” said Trent University economics professor Harry Kitchen, who wrote the study commissioned by the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario.

“There is a general consensus that charging the users makes the most sense.”

I put that link in – because it is the source of the study that I find newsworthy. What they say of course is common sense. What is surprising is who is paying for this to be said. Of course the construction sector wants to build things – and they think there needs to be “massive transportation investment”. But the study also says it is about reducing congestion and making better use of what is already there. And typically, the Ontario government has locked itself into a stance that says, just like BC, no tolls on existing roads, and the gas tax is good enough. Both lacking in elementary economic sense. Once again opinions based on dogma and not rational examination of the alternatives. The NDP also makes the very good point that before the tolls are applied you need real alternatives for those priced off. I suspect that the use of the word “transportation” by the RCCAO means “roads” with a few more buses as a sop to the PC crowd – or a bit of greenwash GO transit service. A somewhat older press release has Dick Soberman warning of the consequences of not getting the “population density forecasts contained in the province’s Places To Grow policy” . Now I have a lot of time for Dick – mainly because he is a very entertaining speaker, someone who can brighten up the dullest transportation conference (and some I have attended have been very dull indeed).

There is also this quote which is also revelaing

The Environmental Assessment process has become “one of the surest means of ensuring that nothing gets done,” says the report. The provincial government should streamline the process to reduce costs and accelerate decision-making.

Which of course has already been done in BC to the delight of the road builders. Our EA is one of the surest means of ensuring that any project no matter how badly designed and damaging to the environment will proceed with impunity.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 22, 2008 at 12:00 pm

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