Toronto, ON – The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition congratulates its members in successfully pushing City Council to maintain an elevated Gardiner Expressway East.
“This is a win for taxpayers, commuters, and businesses investing and operating in Toronto,” says Toronto Taxpayer Coalition President Andrea Micieli. “Deputy City Manager John Livey said it was ‘imperative’ that City Council make a decision on the Gardiner East and, today, Council acted in the best interests of all Torontonians by supporting the Hybrid model over the regressive Boulevard model for the Gardiner East.”
In the past two days of City Council debate we saw an increasingly partisan, left-wing faction of Council argue that maintaining and improving a stretch of elevated expressway is less important than planting hundreds more trees. That a “grand boulevard” with 8 – 10 lanes of stop-and-go traffic is more important than the safety of pedestrians and the delivery of goods and services through the downtown core. Shockingly, we saw city staff confirm that the speed limit on this “grand boulevard” would be lowered to a slow 50 kilometres per hour. This would have been a dangerous route for Toronto to take in transit infrastructure planning.
“The majority of city councillors looked past irrational talking points and utopian visions and looked towards addressing the congestion crisis that is getting worse each day,” notes Research Director Joshua Lieblein. “It was clear from reports and analysis that the Hybrid model is the best option to ensure drivers in Toronto don’t face greater hurdles, and that businesses are able to move goods and services in and out of the city.”
The Hybrid model for the Gardiner East passed on a vote of 24 – 21 due to strategically designed motions that appeased several fence-sitting councillors. “Toronto city councillors heard the outcry from driving commuters in this city, including our own Taxpayer Coalition members, and from major groups like the Ontario Food Terminal. Toronto could not afford to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in productivity. Keeping this stretch of express highway is the fiscally responsible choice,” added Toronto Taxpayers Coalition president Andrea Micieli.
It is the proper role of municipal government to fund and maintain hard services such as vital public infrastructure. It is critical that the City of Toronto plan for the next decades of multiplying population growth and development. This includes maintaining the current network of express highways. We hope Toronto City Council has turned the page on making highways a partisan issue and looks ahead to infrastructure projects that will benefit taxpayers in Toronto.
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