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Road toll proposal passes at city council

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Dec 14th, 2016

Toronto city council has given the green light to Mayor John Tory’s proposal to implement road tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway.

Council voted 32-9 in favour of pushing ahead with the plan, which will now be studied further.

During the next phase of study, Toronto and GTA residents can expect to hear more about pricing.

While the cost of the tolls has not been decided, Tory said a $2 fee would bring in more than $200 million every year. All drivers would pay the toll, not just those living outside Toronto.

Tory has said money raised from the proposed fees would pay for infrastructure projects including his SmartTrack transit plan.

The debate, which lasted more than 11 hours, was passionate, with councillors like Giorgio Mammoliti and Stephen Holyday speaking out against road tolls.

“I urge my colleagues on council [to] stop ripping the city apart with these type of initiatives. It is tearing us in half,” Holyday said.

“Hang on to your wallets because you’re about to get robbed with these tolls.”

Mammoliti and Tory got into a heated debate as they sat side by side in council chambers.

“None of them would mind paying $2 if it is going to something meaningful – that’s what you said, or this has been the grossest misquotation in the history of Toronto politics,” Tory said.

“The fight isn’t over,” Mammoliti said after the vote passed.

On Monday, Mammoliti took a strong stance against road tolls, unfurling a banner and encouraging drivers to honk if they oppose the fees. Mammoliti said tolls would be Tory’s downfall.

“Mayor Tory said he [was] going to try when he got elected to bring the city together. Instead, he is dividing the city; he’s dividing the suburbs with the downtown part of the city with these kinds of initiatives. I think it’s his demise quite frankly,” he said.

Mammoliti did not say how he would raise funds for city services.

The tolls would still need approval from Queen’s Park. Premier Kathleen Wynne has suggested the Liberals would not block any official request from Toronto for road tolls.

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