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(Posted 11:30 a.m., June 1)
Councillor Blais floats idea to charge out-of- town toll on Hwy. 174

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Cumberland Coun. Stephen Blais wants non-residents to pay a toll for using Hwy. 174. More specifically, he wants the city to install an electronic toll system at Canaan Road to charge residents from Clarence-Rockland and points further east who use the highway to get to and from work every day.

The electronic toll system would work similarly to the system employed on Hwy. 407 north of Toronro, except there would only be one monitoring point where commuters would be charged a flat fee everytime they passed by Canaan Road.

According to Blais, a toll could generate an estimated $6.5 million a year, money that could used to help maintain the highway and offset the costs currently incurred by Ottawa taxpayers.

"All the residents of Ottawa are paying a pretty decent amount of tax to keep 174 in the shape that it is," says Blais. "The residents of Rockland are paying nothing yet they get all the benefits to commute to their jobs downtown and I think they should pay their fair share to contribute to the upkeep of the road and then we can use some of that money to improve transit out to Orleans."

Not surprisingly the idea of paying a toll for using the highway isn't sitting very well with commuters from Clarence-Rockland who could end up paying as much as $400 a month if a toll system was put in place. Most say they would find other ways to travel into the city to avoid paying the toll.

Blais says he plans to present his motion to city council next week. If the plan is approved, it would still need to get the blessing of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation before it is implemented.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

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