May 6, 2014 3:57 pm

Toll roads touted as possible alternative to raising taxes

CALGARY- Could toll roads be coming to Calgary?

It’s an option some city councillors are musing, as council grapples with a funding shortfall which means tax hikes for homeowners, and could even result in increased utility rates.

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“It’s an interesting concept,” says Ward 1 councillor Ward Sutherland. “We are having over 30 thousand [people] driving into Calgary every day, using roads, working in Calgary, and we are getting zero tax base.”

He adds he’d prefer that that those living in bedroom communities like Airdrie, Chestermere, Cochrane and Okotoks be the ones hit with the extra charge—and not those who reside in Calgary.

“I am more for targeting particular drivers, like the ones coming in to work and not paying their share.

“If there is a way to do it, I am for it.”

The option was initially brought up by The Manning Foundation, as an alternative to raising taxes. The Calgary-based think tank says there are three major thoroughfares that could easily be changed: Glenmore Trail, Deerfoot Trail and Crowchild Trail.

Study author Bob Brunnen says the toll lanes would reduce the length of the daily commute by 29 per cent, and generate millions of dollars in revenue.

The cost to drivers would work out to about $5 per day.

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