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Poll Position: Ontarians Split on New Funding for Transit

The debate about which taxes and fees we might get to pay for new transit has been delayed; in the meantime many aren't sure we need any new money at all.

Do you agree or disagree new taxes and fees will be required to build transit and transportation infrastructure in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area?

Agree: 42%

Disagree: 38%

Transit and infrastructure isn’t necessary: 7%

Don’t know: 13%

Which of the following new taxes or fees are the fairest way to pay for this transit and transportation infrastructure?

Downtown vehicle congestion charge: 26%

Regional road tolls: 23%

Regional property tax increase: 13%

Regional sales tax: 11%

Regional one point increase in the HST: 10%

None of these: 11%

Don’t know: 6%

Poll taken: September 30-October 1
Sample size: 1093
Margin of Error: +/-3% 19 times out of 20
Methodology: Interactive voice response telephone survey
Conducted by: Forum Research [PDF]

NOTES: Though much of our attention has been focused on the Scarborough subway vs subway vs LRT debate lately, the big-picture questions about transit in the GTA remain unanswered.

We need new infrastructure, desperately, which means we need to find a way to pay for it. The “we” here isn’t just Torontonians though: there’s a plan to build up the entire regional transit network, called The Big Move, and a plan to raise the $2 billion it will take to implement that transit with a funding strategy that would apply province-wide. (Not all the money would be funneled into the GTA, however: the funds will also go to infrastructure improvements, such as road and bridge repairs, in other parts of Ontario.)

When Kathleen Wynne was first chosen premier she advocated strongly for this new transit funding, and said she’d be willing to invest a great deal of political capital in fighting for new taxes and fees. She has since backed off almost entirely, creating a new advisory panel to study the issue further and delay any decisions until at least the spring. In the meantime, the Ontarians who will either back her or boot her out of office (a provincial election is also likely in the spring) are split almost evenly on whether we actually need this new money at all.