Gardiner, Don Valley tolls would be 'chump change,' councillor says

The city councillor says proposed tolls for non-Toronto motorists on the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway are only fair and wouldn't cost much.

A 'couple of bucks a ride' would pay for road work, ease congestion

Tolls on the Gardiner Expressway have been debated for decades, including during John Tory's first run for mayor in 2003. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

The city councillor who is proposing tolls for non-Toronto motorists on the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway says it's only fair and wouldn't cost much.

James Pasternak says the province fully funds the maintenance and repair of roadways such as the 403, Queen Elizabeth Way and 401 for communities in the 905 area code, while Toronto is stuck with the bill for the upkeep of its highways.

Toronto has a "historical imbalance," where the QEW runs through Mississauga and Oakville, then turns into the Gardiner, which is the city's responsibility, he told Matt Galloway of CBC Radio's Metro Morning on Wednesday. The DVP, connecting the Gardiner to Highway 401 is also a municipal expressway.

Pasternak said tolls would ease congestion as motorists switch to GO Transit or alternate routes, while easing pressure on Toronto's tax base and helping the city keep a lid on its debt ceiling.

Just to keep Gardiner in a basic state of good repair is costing $50 million a year, and tolls would not be that much of a burden, he said.

"We're taking chump change. We're talking a couple bucks for a ride. We're talking about a benefit that will keep the Gardiner up and running," he added.

Pasternak and colleagues are asking for a staff report at next month's council to address their various options. He said some municipalities only have road tolls coming into a city, not going out. Others charge according to how often a motorist uses a road and how many passengers they have.

Listen to the full CBC interview below or to the left in the related links.

Featured VideoCounc. James Pasternak proposes Gardiner Expressway tolls for motorists who live outside Toronto