The majority of Montrealers would be willing to part with a few bucks a day to use roads and bridges if it meant the money was spent improving Quebec’s crumbling infrastructure and public transit.
A new Léger Marketing poll commissioned by the CBC found 60 per cent of Montrealers who took the survey said they support paying a toll if the proceeds are put towards both road maintenance and Montreal's public transit system.
Fifty-six per cent would be in favour of a toll if the money would pay for improvements to roads and bridges.
In Toronto, only 31 per cent of those asked were in favour of a toll that would go towards fixing infrastructure, and in Vancouver, that number dipped to 26 per cent.
Laval resident Danny Potente spends roughly $1,200 a year in tolls to use Montreal's only electronic toll bridge, the A25 that connects Montreal and Laval.
"It's literally changed my life… It has cut 40 to 60 minutes off my commute," Potente said, adding that the toll bridge allows him to spend the extra time at home with his newborn.
The commuter also said he's in favour of tolls on other major roads and bridges in the Montreal-area.
Engineer and traffic expert Ottavio Galella said tolls are not only a good way to finance new infrastructure, they’re also the only way to ease gridlock.
"There's an extra cost to congestion and that extra cost is being addressed through tolls," he said.
Galella said Canada is lagging behind the U.S. and Europe when it comes to implementing tolls and needs desperately to catch up.
The Léger Marketing poll was conducted online between Nov. 11 and Nov. 15. In all, 1503 residents of Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal were interviewed (501 Montrealers). The results are accurate to within plus or minus 2.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20.Read the full Big Fix poll results
The Big Fix poll highlights:
- The preferred mode of transportation in Montreal, according to respondents, is automobile (51 per cent). Public transit is second at 35 per cent.
- 81 per cent of Montrealers described their commute as "pleasant."
- Fewer people in Montreal are willing to pay more for better public transit than in Toronto or Vancouver
- 21 per cent of Montrealers agreed with the phrase, "My local government is doing a good job keeping up with road maintenance and development," the lowest among the three metropolitan areas.
- 44 per cent of Montrealers agreed that the cost of building roads and bridges is beyond the means of government alone.