The Ontario public transit agency, Metrolinx is holding a series of consultations with randomly-selected citizens to determine what revenue “tools” it should use to finance $35 Billion worth of transit upgrades across the GTAH. Many of the taxes, er … tools, will be aimed at the sector of the public that doesn’t use transit. These include fuel tax surcharges, parking surcharges, paying to drive in an HOV lane in a single-occupant vehicle and tolls.

There is also a lot of discussion about getting Ottawa to agree to finance a share of municipal transit. There is a reasonable case to be made for federal involvement; except the federal cupboard appears to be as bare as Ontario’s. After all, they wasted a lot of money on so called shovel-ready” infrastructure projects during the recession, and we are still digging out of that deficit. Besides the feds could argue, with plausibility, that they walked away from two percentage points on the HST since the Harper Government took office, and if the provinces were so hard up, why didn’t they step in and take up the slack?

Maybe that is why we see so many government logos plastered on signs where public infrastructure is being built, everybody wants to take credit for the project, but nobody wants to step up to the plate when it comes to taxing the public to pay for it.

John Best has had a lengthy media management career, in television and radio and now print. As Vice President, News at CHCH in Hamilton, John oversaw a significant expansion of the news operation. He founded Independent Satellite News, Canada’s only television news service providing national content to Canadian independent TV stations. John is a frequent political commentator on radio and television, a documentary producer and author of a book and numerous articles on historical and political subjects. John is a past recipient of the New York Festival’s award for writing in the International TV category.

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