Regional Tolls: Socially Responsible User Fees Earmarked for the Funding of Public Transit

    MONTREAL, June 5 /CNW Telbec/ - During a speech today to members of the
Association québécoise du transport et des routes (AQTR), André Lavallée,
Montréal Executive Committee member responsible for Urban Planning and Public
Transit, launched the discussion on funding for public transit by proposing a
new approach. It would consist of establishing a regional toll collection
system, the revenues of which would be shared among the municipalities to
finance their own contributions to the development and to operate local and
regional public transit and active transportation projects.
    "We are firmly convinced that Montréal's future will involve new
high-performance and efficient public transit infrastructure that will require
substantial investment. What we are proposing today is another strategy-one of
applying socially responsible user fees. Such fees will be designed to promote
behaviour contributing to collective goals, such as those pertaining to air
quality, quality of life and social equity," Mr. Lavallée said.

    Electronic toll system project

    Toll payment would be handled electronically, without requiring vehicles
to stop or slow down. No tolls would be collected during evenings or weekends
and different rates would apply to different vehicle types. Emergency
vehicles, buses and taxis would be exempted from payment.

    Toll revenue management

    To manage revenues generated by this strategy, Mr. Lavallée suggested
that a fund be created to implement the Transportation Plan. The fund would
raise taxpayer awareness of how their payments are being spent and would
ensure that moneys received are in fact used for carrying out projects under
this Plan.

    Public consultation sessions

    In view of the important stakes, the city administration will set up the
mechanisms necessary for discussing this matter. A special commission
consisting of elected officials, experts and representatives from the public
will be present at public forums to be held this fall. "Once these discussions
have concluded, different options or new ideas can be selected. We want to
consider this issue in depth and achieve a strong and unifying regional
consensus," said Mr. Lavallée.

    Transportation Plan

    Montréal's bold and ambitious Transportation Plan seeks to make active
transportation and public transit the preferred means of personal travel and a
crucial tool in the city's development. Public consultation sessions that were
held in the fall of 2007 revealed the existence of a strong consensus for
deploying our full resources to carry out its various measures.
    "Over the past year, Montrealers have clearly articulated what they want
for themselves and their children: a green city, a city that will reinvent
itself through sustainable development, formulation of alternatives to travel
by car, new comfortable and high-performance public transit infrastructure,
superior urban developments and neighbourhoods in which families can live and
get around in a safe and pleasant atmosphere. We have a firm commitment to see
this ambitious undertaking through," said Mr. Lavallée.

For further information:

For further information: François Goneau, Relations avec les médias,
(514) 868-5859; Source: Darren Becker, Office of the Mayor and the Executive
Committee, (514) 872-6412

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