Stephen Rees's blog

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

Transport minister cancels federal road toll study

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CTV Toronto

Well, of course.

The Transport Canada study would have examined “how pricing can be used as a tool to induce greater efficiency and sustainability in urban transportation,” according to a funding request document.

The document says that the effectiveness of road tolls and other fees, such as parking and fuel taxes, have not yet been studied in Canada.

“A better understanding of urban transportation pricing in Canada will prove invaluable to cities, provinces, and other stakeholders in the formulation and implementation of more sustainable transportation practices.”

Six Canadian cities were to be included in the study: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton.

The reason it is cancelled is Lawrence Cannon thinks that electors are as stupid as he is. That they cannot tell the difference between a study and a proposal. That we feel better off not knowing rather than have someone look at how it might work.

Cancelled because Cannon wants the votes of sububurban commuters. It is a bit like the way Ujjal Dosanjh decided to cancel the vehicle levy in Vancouver. Now that was a proposal that had actually been authorised by legislation, and approved by bothe regional bodies. It was unpopular with the same sort of people but they would not have voted for the NDP then – or now. And it did not do him a bit of good.

Of course there are other things Cannon could have done. He could have admitted that the issue of road tolls is actually moot in cities which do not have adequate public transport alternatives. In other words every city in Canada, which is the only country of its economic development level which does not have a federal government funding programme for urban transit. Or he could have had the study postponed, so that pollsters were not out doing the study for the next couple of months. That sort of delay is not unusual in studies of this kind, mainly becuase the hightened political atmosphere of an election period tends to skew attitudes. Cannon coould also have admitted that the decison on tolls will not be made by the pesent government – but at best by the next one (although that is unlikely given that it will probably be another short lived minority). And that they will probably defer the decison until the transit funding has been both introduced and given a chance to provide an alternative. Which is well beyond any politician’s horizon.

But Lawrence Cannon is not that sophisticated – and he doesn’t think you are either. Except being a reader of this blog you would probably not consider voting for a party that thinks like this. I hope not anyway.

Written by Stephen Rees

September 7, 2008 at 7:32 am

Posted in politics

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