Comment 87678

By gary buttrum (anonymous) | Posted April 05, 2013 at 05:05:38

i used to think it was criminal that the ontario government sold the 407 toll expressway to a foreign company, at a significant loss i believe, seemingly moments after all the hard work of getting the damn thing built. but i came to a profoundly different conclusion the other day while driving at rush hour from the 400 to the 403 at burlington at the speed limit the whole way. the realization was that selling the 407 to a private company was probably the smartest thing the government could have done.

if the intent was to create a road that is resistant to congestion there MUST be a steadily increasing tolls. i rarely drive in that direction, and rarer still can i justify the cost of the 407, but i had to admit it was working. careful pricing had created a fast, efficient, probably safer alternative to the clogged "free" 400 series highways.
it suddenly dawned on me that it would have probably been nearly impossible for the government to resist the temptation and political pressure to at some point in the last 20 years drastically reduce 407 tolls and effectively ruin the whole thing. why do i feel this way? because i see the same mechanisms at work in transit fares, sprawl development charges, electricity rates, etc, etc, etc.
i believe that the 407 is proof, in our own backyard, of the effectiveness of congestion pricing on roads. if there is no direct cost associated with use of a public service there is no incentive to control consumption of that service.
now we just need politicians with enough balls to do something about the horrible state of our transportation system, for our own good

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