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Poll Position: Torontonians Back Downtown Relief Line

Survey shows support for new subway line, and some willingness to pay for it.


Which is a more pressing need for transit in Toronto: a downtown relief line or a Scarborough subway through Scarborough Town Centre?

Downtown Relief Line: 61%

Scarborough subway: 28%

Don’t know: 11%

Do you agree or disagree with the City imposing taxes or fees on Torontonians to pay for transit?

Agree: 44%

Disagree: 46%

Don’t know: 10%

[Of those who agree to new taxes or fees] If new taxes or fees were required to build transit in Toronto, which type of tax or fee would you prefer?

Reinstating vehicle registration tax: 28%

Downtown congestion charge: 18%

Dedicated city-wide sales tax: 15%

Tolled roads: 14%

Dedicated parking fees: 12%

Another type of tax or fee: 8%

Don’t know: 5%

Poll taken: October 25, 2012
Sample size: 614
Margin of Error: +/-4%, 19 times out of 20
Methodology: Interactive voice response telephone survey
Conducted by: Forum Research (Full results: [PDF])

NOTES: A few days ago the TTC officially announced its support for a Downtown Relief Line—a new subway loop intended to ease the maxed-out Yonge line and speed up trips into the core—and a survey taken the same day shows the public agrees. This, of course, is no surprise: the DRL has been floated as an idea for decades, and who would turn down better service and more route options when many of us watch subway after packed subway go by each morning? What is more notable are the growing indications that Torontonians understand that such a subway will cost money, and are willing to pitch in to make it happen. Though survey respondents don’t have a clear favourite in terms of which tax or fee is best, half of those with an opinion think the municipal government should, in fact, levy one in order to pay for transit—which, given that taxes are hardly popular, is a fairly strong result for those who’ve been arguing that the only way Toronto will get better transit is if we ourselves are willing to pay for it.

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