Op-Ed: Highway Tolling Can Have Multiple Benefits

The editorial board of the Toronto Star picks a side in the policy debate over highway tolling.

1 minute read

July 19, 2016, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Bay Bridge Toll

Ann Baldwin / Shutterstock

The Toronto Star published an editorial that takes a pair of political stances with regard to the implementation of highway tolls: yes, the tax is regressive, placing more burden on low-income commuters than more affluent drivers. But toll roads can still be a benefit to low-income residents.

To reach the conclusion about toll roads being a regressive tax—a familiar and frequently employed talking point in the argument against toll roads—the editorial relies on a federal briefing note prepared for deputy finance minister Paul Rochon in February and obtained by The Canadian Press through the access to information process. "The internal analysis found that, while higher income people are heavier users of road infrastructure, three-quarters of the less-well-off still rely on the road network and therefore could be hit by tolls," according to the editorials.

The editorial's argument in response to the acceptance of toll roads as a regressive tax, is that it can also generate funding and provide benefits for low-income citizens. "Indeed, highway pricing delivers a dual benefit. It’s a way of potentially raising hundreds of millions of dollars for transit each year, depending on the nature and location of tolling systems. And it eases gridlock by convincing more drivers to leave their vehicle at home and opt instead for alternatives such as car pooling, telecommuting or riding transit."

Friday, July 15, 2016 in The Toronto Star

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