Author Topic: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting  (Read 2815 times)

scottish

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Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« on: December 10, 2016, 07:43:21 AM »
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/torontos-highway-toll-proposal-is-a-war-on-the-car-and-its-about-time/article33288939/

It's rare to find such a positive article about reducing car use in a big city, especially Toronto.    Not only are the roads constantly congested - I remember a traffic jam all the way from Waterloo to Kingston  (the highway goes through Toronto, it's something like 400 km) last winter - but people are regularly hit by cars in Toronto.   24 people were hit by traffic in a single day last week!   Nonetheless, the heavy duty commuters are already complaining in the comments. 


Stachey

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2016, 01:59:24 PM »
And road rage incidents seem to be going through the roof.

jm89

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2016, 02:09:26 AM »
About time. Canada is awful for the clown-car lifestyle. I'd love to see a city like Edmonton or Calgary take a more positive approach to commuting.

okits

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2016, 06:11:01 AM »
I'm for the tolls.  We need to do something to fund new transit infrastructure and make transportation more efficient.  One reason people are smashing their lives into tiny condos is that walking 20 minutes (or less!) to work is preferable to an hour or two in the car or taking our crappy, overcrowded, delay-and-stoppage-prone transit.
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daverobev

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2016, 12:06:27 PM »
The 401 is the busiest road in North America, right?

TO needs better mass transit. And a better bypass/ring road. A $2 toll is nothing. It needs to go up by $1 a year or so, and go hand in hand with lower and better train/subway systems. Carrot AND stick.

That plus affordable housing. Maybe the government can do what the UK did years ago - move government agencies out of Toronto? Not sure how much government stuff there is in the city.
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GuitarStv

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2016, 12:27:56 PM »
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/torontos-highway-toll-proposal-is-a-war-on-the-car-and-its-about-time/article33288939/

It's rare to find such a positive article about reducing car use in a big city, especially Toronto.    Not only are the roads constantly congested - I remember a traffic jam all the way from Waterloo to Kingston  (the highway goes through Toronto, it's something like 400 km) last winter - but people are regularly hit by cars in Toronto.   24 people were hit by traffic in a single day last week!   Nonetheless, the heavy duty commuters are already complaining in the comments.

I'd love to believe that Tory cares at all about improving commuting in this city (and charging road tolls along the busiest sections of roadway seem like a decent place to start), but his past actions belie that hope.

- He continued the Rob Ford policies of building a single stop subway into the east end.  This will replace a well thought out, planned and evaluated network of light rail through all of Scarborough.  The final costs for the Scarborough subway proposal are unknown.  What is known is that maintenance costs to run this subway far, far below capacity (since no study done of the region has indicated that the capacity of the subway is necessary for the number of transit riders likely in the next 50 years) will be very high - preventing other transit in the city from being built.
- He has continued to cut funding to the TTC, even after Andy Byford indicated that there is no way the TTC can cut the budget further without reducing services offered.
Tory has ignored report after report indicating that a  downtown relief line is needed immediately to service the subway overcrowding in the downtown core.
- He has continued to ignore the many studies and chorus of experts who have indicated that a downtown relief line is essential to reduce the very bad overcrowding already swamping the subway every weekday morning.

meghan88

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2016, 02:09:00 PM »
What's needed is a high-speed rail link along the Windsor-Montreal corridor to take the pressure off the 401, which is up to 20 lanes wide at some points, and still a mess.  As compared with many other countries, Canada's rail system is pathetic.  Some might argue that we don't have the population density, but at least the major centers are all pretty much along a straight line.  The rail lines are already there but they're no longer government-owned and operated.  Private interests reign supreme, so freight is way more important than passengers.

And regional planners in their infinite wisdom have spent over $1B for a 19-kilometer stretch of light rail in Kitchener/Waterloo (KW) to go from one shopping mall to another at a pace that will shave a whole minute off from a regular city bus running the same route.  They've completely screwed up the main roads and they have no idea as to how they'll cooperate to clear the snow.  The trains are being made by Bombardier and their delivery has been delayed by over a year.

As for regular rail, there are two morning trains from KW to Toronto and two evening trains from Toronto to KW.  That's all the service there is, and the trains are S-L-O-W and expensive.  There are no trains from KW to Pearson airport.  Rideshares cost anywhere from $75 and up for a one-way trip (100 kilometers).  Public transport from KW to Pearson airport takes over three hours each way.

scottish

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2016, 03:19:20 PM »
Via rail isn't state of the art high-speed, but I can take a train to Toronto in less time than I can drive.

And there's a ring road.   The toll is something like $25.00 though, just to avoid the 401 through downtown Toronto.   It can be a good deal on a bad day...


AZDude

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2016, 03:39:21 PM »
Not from Toronto, obviously.

Tolls as a way of raising funds to build better mass transit and alternative ways of getting to work is a perfectly acceptable idea.

However, the idea of tolls to discourage driving without adding any kind of alternative is a bad idea. It would just add extra costs to everyday workers and raise housing costs of homes closer to jobs even more.

meghan88

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2016, 04:09:45 PM »
Via rail isn't state of the art high-speed, but I can take a train to Toronto in less time than I can drive.

And there's a ring road.   The toll is something like $25.00 though, just to avoid the 401 through downtown Toronto.   It can be a good deal on a bad day...

The train makes total sense between Toronto-Ottawa or Toronto-Montreal.  I recall that there was a mid-day express from Montreal-TO that took about 4 hours  Outside of those two routes, it really, really sucks.

Ring road ... are you talking about the 407 toll road?  That road is 43% owned by a Spanish company, 40% owned by a few CPP subsidiaries and 17% owned by SNC Lavalin, which means that the province isn't getting the entire benefit of the tolls.  And it only goes from somewhere near Milton to Markham.  Add to that the hilarity of some of the stories about disputed charges:

https://www.thestar.com/yourtoronto/the_fixer/2009/11/09/the_fixer_anger_over_hwy_407_bills.html

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/02/01/bill_for_driving_on_407_43000.html

scottish

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2016, 04:54:28 PM »
The 407 was a lifesaver last winter.    It took us 8 hours to get back to Ottawa from London, if we'd had to stay on the 401 through downtown Toronto I'm sure it would have been more like 11-12.

meghan88

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2016, 05:40:37 PM »
OMG, I have no doubt.  I am no fan of the 401.  Our first trip to the region in 2007 began with a four-hour trip from Pearson Airport to KW because there was a truck fire that closed all lanes.

We've lived in KW for nine years now and I think I've been to Toronto maybe five times for work.  We avoid the 401 and Toronto like the plague.

We're making it through these last four years pre-retirement so that we can get out of Southwestern Ontario (aka Canada's Clown Car County) for the last time.

human

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2016, 05:43:15 PM »
Sorry but what exactly is KW?

okits

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2016, 05:51:08 PM »
Sorry but what exactly is KW?

Kitchener-Waterloo.

When my DH has to go to KW for a full day of work it is 1.5-2 hours to get there from
Toronto, and another 2-2.5 hours back.  That's 3.5-4.5 hours of driving for an 8 hour work day.  Madness.

(Funny aside: autocorrect changes "KW traffic" to "Jew traffic".  What?!  :)
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financialfreedomsloth

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2016, 08:08:29 AM »
Not from Toronto, obviously.

Tolls as a way of raising funds to build better mass transit and alternative ways of getting to work is a perfectly acceptable idea.

However, the idea of tolls to discourage driving without adding any kind of alternative is a bad idea. It would just add extra costs to everyday workers and raise housing costs of homes closer to jobs even more.
Indeed, so much of these ideas in the end are not about improving traffic flow/public transport or eliminating congestion but turn out to be just another way of the government raising taxes without any improvements for those who have to pay. In Belgium have a vehicle tax you have to pay each year, we have VAT when you buy an new vehicle, we have VAT and a lot of extra taxes on gasoline (it's around 1.5 euro per liter over here): that is billions upon billions of euro's road users are allready paying to the government but our roads AND public transport is a joke. And now they are talking about a congestion tax as a solution to get rid of our world record amounts of traffic congestions? Call me unimpressed ...
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Margie

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2016, 08:37:25 AM »
It would be smarter to move some businesses out of downtown Toronto or strong incentives for flex time.  I don't work out of the home and if I leave at 9:30 am there is no traffic anywhere.   It's perfect. 

I'm in KW too and we avoid Toronto as well!!   Really sad because we used to go there for weekend fun all the time (20 years ago)...now, it is a nightmare, traffic is brutal, parking is nuts and we dread having to go.

A few years ago we gave up season tickets to the ROCK games because of it.   And my son lives and breathes lacrosse. 

As for the LRT - it will be a farce.   It literally makes no sense.  We should have rapid buses everywhere.  That would make way more sense and be easier to adjust routes if needed.

We will leave Ontario as soon as our kids are done school.  The province has been in a decline for years and it's so sad.   Maybe when Alberta leaves Canada!!    lol
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gimp

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2016, 07:46:38 PM »
Obviously Singapore does things Canada can't for various reasons, but one good queue to take is real-time congestion monitoring and tolling in proportion to congestion.

$2 toll at 3am (or even $0), $5 toll at 6am, $8 toll at 7am, etc.

Along with good traffic reporting and prediction available via various mobile apps, obviously including the popular map apps, to help people plan their day.

meghan88

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2016, 03:40:37 PM »
It would be smarter to move some businesses out of downtown Toronto or strong incentives for flex time.  I don't work out of the home and if I leave at 9:30 am there is no traffic anywhere.   It's perfect. 

I'm in KW too and we avoid Toronto as well!!   Really sad because we used to go there for weekend fun all the time (20 years ago)...now, it is a nightmare, traffic is brutal, parking is nuts and we dread having to go.

A few years ago we gave up season tickets to the ROCK games because of it.   And my son lives and breathes lacrosse. 

As for the LRT - it will be a farce.   It literally makes no sense.  We should have rapid buses everywhere.  That would make way more sense and be easier to adjust routes if needed.

We will leave Ontario as soon as our kids are done school.  The province has been in a decline for years and it's so sad.   Maybe when Alberta leaves Canada!!    lol

We'll be heading back to our home province in four years when we FIRE.

Happy to see another KW resident on here!!  Feel free to contact me and we can compare notes about how our local tax dollars are being wasted ...

vsanjay

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2016, 11:52:16 PM »
In Toronto, you always end up paying more - either in increased rentals due to living close to work, or hours and $ wasted commuting to work if you live farther from work. The TTC is a joke and is way over-crowded. Parking expensive. Traffic bad.

Where are all you guys planning to move out to?

scottish

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2016, 06:46:25 AM »
Alberta (we lived there for 7 years in the 90's) and BC both have a strong appeal.    Far away from federal/Ontario politics and lots of mountains.

GuitarStv

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2016, 01:30:03 PM »
The problem with Ontario's politics is that the Conservatives badly damaged their brand . . . first through their actions in power under Harris, and then by consistently put forward deeply flawed candidates.  The Liberals have effectively had no real threat to their power for ten years, which has bred complacency and shady back door dealings aplenty.

scottish

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2016, 03:21:37 PM »
Indeed.    The liberals seem to need solid competition at all times to keep them in line.    Not that the conservatives are any better...   so I believe liberal minority governments are a good thing.

Prospector

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2016, 03:42:50 PM »
If you can't beat em,  join em.

We started other in Brantford,  then moved to Newmarket,  finally settling here in the east end of the GTA. Excelent GO service on the lakeshore line. Work and live in the same place, and only rarely affected by traffic. This was planned and intentional.  Commuting is soul sacking no matter where you are.
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vsanjay

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #23 on: January 01, 2017, 01:07:19 PM »
I'm new to Canada so I have little understanding of politics here. I have slowly realized, though, that some things just don't seem right here in Ontario. Example: I try hard to keep my electricity consumption low. My usage is only 30-35$ a month, but Toronto Hydro (and any other Ontario utility) tacks on an equal amount in "delivery fee" and bang my bill is now in the $70s. My neighbor has had enough and is making plans to move to PEI for a more affordable quality of life.

Good to know Alberta is a potential place to move to! How are IT prospects over there?

GuitarStv

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #24 on: January 01, 2017, 01:18:20 PM »
I'm new to Canada so I have little understanding of politics here. I have slowly realized, though, that some things just don't seem right here in Ontario. Example: I try hard to keep my electricity consumption low. My usage is only 30-35$ a month, but Toronto Hydro (and any other Ontario utility) tacks on an equal amount in "delivery fee" and bang my bill is now in the $70s.

In Ontario we reward people for using more power by giving them lower rates (unless you're a business . . . in which case we'll sometimes pay you to use our power - but that's another gripe).  If you are generally a frugal user of power you will pay more in fixed costs (we pay nearly twice our usage in fixed costs each month).  It's part of our provincial policy of punishing those who conserve.  :P

scottish

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2017, 02:35:56 PM »
The Alberta economy is closely tied to resource prices.   i.e. oil.    When oil is up, kids with few skills make 6 figure incomes.   When oil is down, well...

Prospector

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2017, 03:35:52 PM »
The Alberta economy is closely tied to resource prices.   i.e. oil.    When oil is up, kids with few skills make 6 figure incomes.   When oil is down, well...

When oil is down, ppl with 6 letters after their names can't find work.
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Berubeland

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2017, 08:02:35 PM »
I have to drive around like crazy for my job, and it's not like I can use transit to do it either, I never go the same place each day and go different times. However, I have noticed that the TTC sucks ass every time I use it. I've used it like 5-6 times in the last year and I've been late every time due to delays on their system. Years ago I chose to ride my bike across the city rather than deal with the congestion and unreliability of the TTC.

I also have some thoughts about Toll roads. The 407 was built and the tolls were supposed to be to pay back for the cost of building it and then it was supposed to be free. Except the government sold it and now it'll never be free, nor will the money be used to improve our infrastructure.

The problem with transit and highways in Toronto is that the scum sucking politicians are using services like a pawn and they blow with the winds of public opinion instead of developing a sane effective policy developed using data. "Feeling and opinion are not facts" and you don't go building billion dollar projects with your guts.

One thing for sure, for the car drivers, we need more effective ways to circumvent the city and get out of the downtown core. Originally Allen road was supposed to reach the Gardiner Expressway and help channel congestion out of the city. The removal of the Gardiner sections has not helped and the chaos that will happen when it's finally removed will be epic.

We need guidance and informed decisions and we get flim flammy uninformed consensus and that's not how you make these kinds of plans. A mayoral term is barely long enough to even develop the kind of plan the city needs.

And don't even get me started on affordable housing.

GuitarStv

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2017, 09:34:58 AM »
I also have some thoughts about Toll roads. The 407 was built and the tolls were supposed to be to pay back for the cost of building it and then it was supposed to be free. Except the government sold it and now it'll never be free, nor will the money be used to improve our infrastructure.

Yep.  We built the 407 for 1.6 billion dollars and sold it for 3.1 billion . . . which seems like it was a good deal until you remember that it cost about 100 billion dollars to get all the required right of way to start building the highway.  We also agreed not to charge the 407 consortium property taxes for some reason as part of the secret negotiations for the 99 year lease.  Privatizing the 407 was one of several wildly unpopular decisions made under the Harris government that effectively made the Conservatives outcasts in this province to this day.

Of course, the Liberals right now are doing something very similar with the Ontario Hydro sale.  Sigh.

Kimera757

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2017, 07:32:23 PM »
In Canada, the main left wing party (the Liberal Party) generally raises taxes, puts us into debt, and gets us the best services possible. The main right wing party (the Conservative Party) generally lowers taxes, raises user fees, and gets us services we can afford even if they're inadequate.

But when it comes to transit, it's the exact opposite. Liberals like light rail transit (above-ground transit that competes with cars) which is cheaper. Conservatives like subways which don't compete with cars but cost a lot more. Their attitudes are the exact opposite when it comes to transit compared to the usual attitudes. This is a consistent difference too.

Sad news. Liberal Premier Wynne decided not to allow John Tory (the mildly right-leaning mayor of Toronto) to put up tolls, after she said she would. Conservatives usually don't like tolls, even though they're user fees, because they interfere with the car. Tory being willing to do this was seen as fresh and exciting.

Tolls would have been charged mainly against drivers from the 905 bedroom communities. 905 is the area code for cities around Toronto (Toronto uses the 416 area code), and it's generally a little more conservative than Toronto. Many (but far from all) of its residents live in the 905 but work in Toronto, but Toronto gets stuck with the cost of maintaining the roads within Toronto. 905 voters got mad at Tory, but they don't get to vote for or against him, so Tory would face little political cost. By contrast, Wynne's seats in Toronto are safe, but the competitive 905 seats would likely go to the Conservatives, which would cost her the upcoming election. So she wimped out.

In Toronto (and probably most Canadian cities) funding comes largely from property taxes. Every year property taxes go up more than inflation because they simply don't bring in enough money. Tory tried to get Wynne to allow him to raise other taxes (a gas tax, an alcohol tax) but she would only allow tolls. And then she decided against even that. She did promise him some money (and not a small amount) coming from her partial sale of Ontario Hydro, but it's less money than the tolls could have raised.

(As an aside, in Canada Conservatives supporters are often called Tories. Tory ran as Conservative leader in 2007. It would have been even funnier had he been a Liberal.)

scottish

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #30 on: January 29, 2017, 07:51:39 PM »
I suspect Wynne's government is going to lose the next election regardless of what she does.   (Yes, I know, famous last words!)    She's so unpopular right now that the conservatives are going to be a shoe in.    You think she could actually try and do something right instead of worrying about a futile attempt at getting re-elected.   All this does is remind everyone of her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty.

The way things are going, all she'll leave behind is a bunch of solar farms paid for with our tax dollars.

GuitarStv

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #31 on: January 30, 2017, 08:03:21 AM »
In Canada, the main left wing party (the Liberal Party) generally raises taxes, puts us into debt, and gets us the best services possible. The main right wing party (the Conservative Party) generally lowers taxes, raises user fees, and gets us services we can afford even if they're inadequate.

The liberals are a center right party, they're not left wing at all.  The conservatives sit right of the liberals, but they're not extremely right wing either (although they took some significant steps in this direction after absorbing the much more right wing Reform party several years back).   The NDP is the closest thing that we have to a left wing political group.

Debt in the last forty odd years has been raised under Conservative government, and kept steady under liberal government:



But when it comes to transit, it's the exact opposite. Liberals like light rail transit (above-ground transit that competes with cars) which is cheaper. Conservatives like subways which don't compete with cars but cost a lot more. Their attitudes are the exact opposite when it comes to transit compared to the usual attitudes. This is a consistent difference too.

When it comes to transit in Toronto, all politicians appear to support whatever seems to be popular.  This leads to constant changing of decisions which leads to nothing being built (or to poor long term decisions being made).  Right or left, decisions are made by what seems like it's going to get the most votes during the next election.

For example, light rail has fallen out of favour publicly and you'll notice that nobody wants to support it . . . even though the experts (and expensive study after study) indicate that a light rail solution is optimal for the spread out low density areas of Toronto (particularly East Toronto).


In Toronto (and probably most Canadian cities) funding comes largely from property taxes. Every year property taxes go up more than inflation because they simply don't bring in enough money.

Property tax rates have dropped steadily in Toronto over the last ten or fifteen years.  It's weird, but true.  My home has nearly doubled in value since we purchased it five years ago, but I'm paying about the same property taxes that we were paying when we moved in.

Part of the reason that Toronto has no money to pay for things is that we've been keeping property taxes artificially low for so long.

Kashmani

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #32 on: January 30, 2017, 11:43:00 AM »
Property tax rates have dropped steadily in Toronto over the last ten or fifteen years.  It's weird, but true.  My home has nearly doubled in value since we purchased it five years ago, but I'm paying about the same property taxes that we were paying when we moved in.

Yes, but does Toronto still have the Leaving Tax? I.e., the doubling up of the land transfer fee when buying or selling a house? I am not sure that is better.

I loved my eight years in Toronto, but I hated arriving and leaving:

Upon arriving, I came with a Uhaul truck on a sunny Sunday afternoon in August 2002. Not knowing a single soul in Toronto, I had to carry all of my possessions up three flights of stairs to my new apartment. After several hours of that, and being completely exhausted, I tried to park the Uhaul truck, only to find that nowhere in Toronto can one park legally overnight. It being a Sunday evening by now, I also could not return the truck since Uhaul was closed. The next day I had a $60 parking ticket. Welcome to Toronto.

Upon leaving I had to sell my house in Toronto that I had spent four years in. It was a tiny 14-foot wide piece of garbage, but all I could afford in 2006 after the relentless run-up in real estate prices. And even when I sold it in 2010, there were still enough things wrong with it (e.g., plaster being screwed into the wall so the wall would not collapse) that no bidding war ever materialized. Needless to say, by then Toronto had doubled up on the land transfer tax to protect elderly citizens living in monstrous million-dollar houses right on the subway but unable to afford annual property tax increases. Houses that I, as a biglaw associate, had no hope of ever affording since every year they increased in price as much as my annual net worth increase. Goodbye from Toronto.

Such a beautiful city, but man does it like to anal-rape people who either arrive or leave.

Prospector

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #33 on: January 30, 2017, 11:55:34 AM »




This would be interesting to see overlaid with the provincial debt in Ontario. For all the noise surrounding her gov't its hard to find actual facts on how Ontario has done under Wynne.
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daverobev

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Re: Toronto mayor wants to address the real cost of commuting
« Reply #34 on: January 30, 2017, 12:58:36 PM »

This would be interesting to see overlaid with the provincial debt in Ontario. For all the noise surrounding her gov't its hard to find actual facts on how Ontario has done under Wynne.

Numbers are here, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_government_debt
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