Should Calgary drivers pay $5 for express lanes on major roads?

A think-tank in Calgary is proposing the idea of installing tolls for fast lanes on some major thoroughfares.

Manning Foundation proposes tolls on Glenmore Trail, Crowchild Trail and Deerfoot Trail

The Manning Foundation suggests express lanes with tolls could reduce congestion on roads like Deerfoot Trail. (CBC)

A think-tank in Calgary is proposing the idea of installing tolls to use fast lanes on some major thoroughfares.

The Manning Foundation is recommending tolls on some Calgary roads, such as Glenmore Trail, Crowchild Trail and Deerfoot Trail.

"Folks are spending more time in traffic than being in the office, earning their incomes and contributing to the economy,” said report writer Ben Brunnen.

He suggests one lane of existing traffic on those major thoroughfares could be transformed into a toll express lane. Drivers would pay $5 a day to use the faster lane.

“In the event the traffic pattern warrants more people moving to the high occupancy lane, well then, the price would increase," he said.

Tolls could raise $76 million in profit for the city every year, the report suggests.

"It's a triple win. It's a win for the city in revenue generated, it's a win for the taxpayer in terms of not seeing unsustainable increases to taxes for transportation announcements, and it's a win for the commuters, in the sense you will have a lower commute time."

A few years ago the city did contemplate turning the new airport tunnel into a toll road, although the idea never became a reality.

On its website, the Manning Foundation says it believes Canadians share values like individual liberty and believe in free markets and it strikes to provide education and training programs. The foundation is a registered charity dedicated to "building Canada’s conservative movement."

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