Toll highways: Response to ‘How the free road lobby led us astray’

Al Eisele
National Post
June 19, 2000

I read with much curiosity Lawrence Soloman’s arguments in favour of Toll Highways (How the Free Road Lobby Led Us Astray, May 30). There are, however, two glaring errors in his statements: One, that Canadian drivers are getting a free ride on our roadways.

I wonder what planet he lives on. A free ride?

Does he not realize that every litre of gasoline we buy has a 31¢ cut taken by the provincial and federal governments?

Drivers also pay a myriad of fees when they purchase their cars, such as tire tax, air tax, GST, PST, plus renewal fees for the plates and driver’s licence.

And, what do all these fees get us drivers? Deteriorating, congested roadways because governments don’t plow back nearly what they take from us in all those fees.

In the United States, the majority of roads are free access and in excellent shape because a road tax is for roads. Period. All such monies are earmarked for infrastructure improvements and, nothing else.

If the same were done in Canada there would be plenty of money to keep our roads in good repair and, there would be plenty for expansion, too.

The other argument that toll roads are safer is hogwash. Ontario’s 407 is safer because traffic flows are way less than on the free roads such as the 401.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. Less traffic volume naturally means less accidents.

Why should I use a toll road when I am taxed to death? is already the argument most now use to stay off that highway.

So let’s stop all this talk about toll roads and get some more commitment from the likes of Ottawa who confiscate 17¢ a litre from drivers and give us back nothing in terms of funding for our road systems.

Al Eisele, Milton, Ont.

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