It’s deja vu all over again. By extolling the virtues of variable rate tolls on all highways and bridges leading into central business districts, the recent paper by Montréal’s latest conservative think tank, the Canadian Ecofiscal Commission, mimics the 2008 proposal by the even more conservative Montréal Economic Institute.
Then, as now, the proposal was dead on arrival. The recently elected prime minister campaigned on a promise to scrap his predecessor’s toll plan for the new Champlain Bridge in Montréal. Québec’s Transport Minister, also the minister responsible for the Montréal region, immediately scuttled the CEC proposal. In doing so, he succinctly made a point that all such proposals glance over: “What are we offering as an alternative?”