Monday, 21 November 2011

Getting the User to Pay: Toll Roads Aren't That Awful, Poll Says

A Canada-wide poll commissioned by the CBC shows that Canadians are not averse to letting the user pay when it comes to roads and bridges. More than three-quarters of those questioned in Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto said okay to tolls on new highway construction, with Montrealers being more in favour of tolls on existing infrastructure than in the two other cities. At the same time, Montrealers were far more satisfied with public transportation in their region than people elsewhere.

The old idea of letting the user pay is probably a good one when it comes to roads and bridges, because it amounts to a disincentive to use of the private vehicule. But money raised through the tolls must be used to improve public transit, because there's another old saw that works against good urban planning. "If you build it, they will come," means that unless alternatives are offered to new roads and bridges, within a short time they'll be as congested as the old ones were as urban sprawl creeps outwards.

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