Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Premier Wynne Has Slapped Toronto in the Face by Nixing Road Tolls

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Premier Wynne Has Slapped Toronto in the Face by Nixing Road Tolls

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Premier Wynne has slapped Toronto in the face by nixing road tolls

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published Jan. 27:

Premier Kathleen Wynne has delivered a hard slap in the face to Toronto by nixing the city's plan to pay for transit by putting tolls on two highways.

It's not just the money - though that's certainly important. The city needs billions to pay for transit, housing and a host of other vital projects. And it's far from clear that the extra gasoline tax revenue the premier promises to give the city will match the money that road tolls would raise.

Much more important is the blatant disrespect towards the city, whose mayor and council bravely stepped forward last fall with a proposal they knew would be unpopular with many people. Putting tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway was always going to raise the hackles of commuters, especially those in the 905 suburbs.

Yet Tory took that chance and brought 32 councillors along with him. It was the boldest move to break the logjam in transit funding the city has seen in many years.

For weeks it seemed as if the Wynne Liberals would not stand in the way, even as the Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats at Queen's Park raised their faux-populist cries against any sort of toll or tax, anywhere, any time.

Now, suddenly, the premier has vetoed tolls for transparently political reasons. She made the announcement in Richmond Hill, in the heart of suburban commuter country, at a news conference that resembled a campaign rally.

By all accounts, she had been told in no uncertain terms by Liberal MPPs from 905 ridings that she would be cutting her own political throat if she gave the green light to highway tolls.

Instead, she chose to throw Tory and Toronto council overboard, leaving the mayor sputtering about how he's sick of having Queen's Park treat him like a "little boy in short pants."

No wonder. Toronto put itself through a long, arduous debate over how to fund transit without simply going begging to higher governments. It finally rallied around highway tolls - not a perfect solution, but at least a way forward. …

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