On April 2, 2013, Metrolinx released a “short list” of proposed revenue sources they are considering to fund the cost of its planned expansion of the transportation system within the Greater Toronto Area. The list of the proposed revenue sources is significant:
- Development charges
- Employer payroll tax
- Gas tax
- Paid access to HOV lanes
- Property tax increase
- Regional sales tax
- Transit fare increase
- Land-value capture
- Parking space levy
- Highway tolls
- Charge for distance travelled
Metrolinx has been asking for comments as to which of these proposed revenue sources should be implemented before their final recommendations are made to the Province in late May. In particular, both the City of Toronto and the Board of Trade are in favour of a parking tax while the ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centres) opposes the parking tax for reasons that have been effectively detailed in a memo recently distributed to all ICSC readers.
Some of the discussion surrounding these various tools centres on whether or not revenue should be generated from those who use the transportation systems that are being expanded or improved, or whether or not we all should bear the burden of these additional costs. Others challenge some of the tools on the basis that they are not transparent, or fair or that they are short term solutions to longer term issues, or that they are not cost-effective to implement.
Everyone is being invited to provide commentary, and while it is too soon to say which of these revenue sources will be implemented, it is certainly worthwhile considering how these new revenue tools might affect existing agreements that land owners have with their tenants and other occupants, and also whether or not they should, in their future dealings, be contemplating the enactment of these charges, and allocating responsibility for payment or repayment accordingly.