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Toronto council candidate wants to charge non-local drivers ‘congestion fee’ to drive downtown

Locals who live and work in the area would be exempt from the extra charge

A Toronto city council candidate has floated the idea of a so-called “congestion fee” for non-local motorists who drive in and out of the downtown core.

Rocco Achampong, a lawyer and city council candidate for Spadina-Fort York, said the idea is a good one.

“A congestion fee is not a novel idea,” he told CTV news. “Toronto should follow the lead of other world class cities who have already implemented it, are about to implement it, or are considering implementing it: London, Milan, Singapore, New York City, and Vancouver.”

Achampong says that the surcharge for non-residents who travel downtown would reduce traffic. He also notes that anyone that live or work in the area would not pay.

The city council candidate said he was not sure exactly what the figure would be, but that in London, the rate is around $23 to drive into Central London during specific time period. He said that in New York, the proposed fee was $30 for drivers to enter during rush hour.

He also points out that the fees collected would be significant revenue to the City of Toronto.

“Apart from the revenue, a congestion fee will ultimately influence motorists’ travel choices.It will reduce pollution, noise, and road casualties,” Achampong added. “Residents and visitors alike will have more space for walking and cycling. Speed of public transportation will improve. This is the kind of community residents of Spadina-Fort York want.”

The idea has received mixed reactions on Twitter.

With the city elections on October 24, many were unsure of the feasibility of the implementation, even those largely in favour of it. Many are suggesting that better transit and cycling options would be a more viable option for decreasing gridlock.