Dear Kathleen Wynne:
Wipe that smile off your face and don’t you even think about turning the current HOV lanes into toll lanes! Sure, the HOV lanes appeared to have worked reasonably well during the PanAm Games. That’s because:
- Half the population is on vacation in July.
- The rest of us boiled in our cars sitting in stop-and-go traffic in the remaining lanes.
- Seventy percent of the users of the HOV lanes had only one occupant in the car and got away with it.
- Law breakers are rewarded for using the HOV lanes by arriving at their destinations ahead of the law-abiding citizens who sweated it out in the other lanes.
Let me make it clear up front that I am a huge fan of toll roads. When Highway 407 was conceived and built we all knew and understood the rules. It was user pay and we accepted that. The fact that the toll fees are usurious is another issue. Extracting tolls for highways and lanes already built and paid for by earlier taxpayers is just wrong and shameful. I realize you need revenue to improve transportation in the GTA but if you spent more tax money helping Toronto build a larger subway system we wouldn’t have to rely on our air-polluting, road-hogging cars so much.
My biggest source of irritation concerning the use of HOV lanes during the PanAm and ParaPan Games was the fact that most of the users of the designated lanes were illegal sole-occupant vehicles who blew by me in guileful abandon while I obeyed the law and sat in the slow lanes.
Here’s an idea. Why not set up cameras along the HOV lanes, similar to the ones used at intersections to catch red-light runners, and fine drivers who ignore the occupancy rules and have only one person in the vehicle. The computer technology currently used to capture license plate numbers for non-transponder-using 407 drivers could be used. It’s not hard to spot the number of drivers through the front windshield. You’d probably raise more revenue doing that, than by punishing average taxpayers who cannot afford a premium for the privilege of using lanes they’ve already paid for in their taxes. Then, use that revenue to build more subways. Reward those who obey the law; penalize those who do not. When will our elected officials start using their brains and tax dollars for the betterment of all taxpayers not just for the elite and not for lawbreakers.