Toronto considers tolling elevated highway

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Toronto considers tolling elevated highway

Toronto's City Council is considering options for tolling the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway (DVP).

Toronto's Executive Committee has carried out a report to examine various options for tolling the Gardiner Expressway and DVP for the purpose of offsetting capital, operating and maintenance costs for these highways and other local transportation needs. Under the report the roads have been treated as a single continuous facility.

The report identifies two options:

  • Flat rate "open system". This option requires drivers to pay a flat-fee, between CAD$1.25 and CAD$3.25 to use the roads. Toll points would be required for all entry ramps to capture all vehicles.
  • Distance-based "closed system". This option requires drivers to pay between CAD$10 cents and CAD$35 cents for each kilometre travelled. This requires tolling sites to be set up at all entry and exit points.

The total project investment for a 30 year period is estimated at CAD5.7 billion, which includes CAD$3.8 billion for capital, operating and maintenance cost for the Gardiner Expressway, CAD$200 million for the at-grade DPV and CAD1.7 billion for the open and closed toll systems.

Currently the Gardiner Expressway carries approximately 164,000 vehicles per weekday west of the Central Area at Spadina Avenue and 228,000 weekday vehicles east of Highway 427, while the DVP carries 110,000 vehicles per weekday north of the Bayview Avenue/Bloor Street interchange.

Toronto's Councillor Joe Mihevc said

"I think this is as good a moment as any to initiate that conversation. I think our public is ahead of many a politician. The public knows that to fund good efficient public transit and good efficient automotive transit, you need money. And this is a fair way, because it's basically a user-pay kind of system."

If city council agrees next year to move ahead with tolling, Toronto would need the Ontario government to pass two enabling regulations to move forward with the project.

Toronto's Council also checked the possibility of replacing the Gardiner with a tunnel but the cost of a tunnel could go as high as CAD$10 billion and would have connectivity issues.

We have recently reported on several road PPP projects in North America:

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