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Photo: Business group, environmentalists urge parking levy to fund Toronto transit

Toronto — The David Suzuki Foundation and Canadian Business for Social Responsibility have launched a campaign urging Mayor John Tory to support a commercial parking levy to fund public transit.

This is the first joint initiative by a business organization and an environmental group to win this new revenue tool.

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"We've long said that a levy on commercial parking lots would help Toronto fund vital transit services and get our city moving again. We're delighted that a forward-looking and progressive business organization like CBSR agrees," said David Suzuki Foundation transportation analyst Gideon Forman. "Busting congestion is good for the environment and it's good for business."

The new campaign will involve both an online effort to get citizens contacting the Mayor's office and a subway station ad buy. The ad says: "To bust congestion, we need more transit! Ask Mayor Tory to support a commercial parking levy to fund transit."

According to a recent KPMG report, the public is supportive of parking levies if the revenue is directed at transit investments.

"Monies from the parking levy should be directly linked to transit funding and not get lost in general revenues," CBSR executive director Steven Fish said.

Research suggests the parking levy — which would be paid by parking lot owners — could bring Toronto as much as $535 million annually.

"The projected amount per parking spot is modest — about $1.50 a day — but collectively this money could be very significant for the city," Forman said. "It would let us avoid fare hikes and improve TTC service, while addressing climate change and relieving congestion."

The Toronto Region Board of Trade estimates gridlock currently costs the Toronto region $6 billion annually in lost productivity and is projected to grow to $15 billion by 2031. The Board is on record as recommending a parking levy to help pay for public transit.

For more information, please visit www.davidsuzuki.org or contact:
Gideon Forman, Transportation Policy Analyst, David Suzuki Foundation (416) 348-9885, ext. 1575
Steven Fish, Executive Director, Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (416) 703-7435

November 10, 2016