Sunday, June 2, 2013

More voices on Metrolinx: Land value capture

A comment on revenue source suggestions recently released by the Metrolinx organization for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton, from  former leader on Ontario's Green Party Frank de Jong, provides the viewpoint that is the correct one - based on a view of community and transit that values both and expects the beneficiaries of good transit policy will also bear the cost.

New taxes on sales, gas and HOV lane may be “fair and balanced” but they will be aggressively opposed and politically damaging to any government imposing them.
A far more politically defensible way to finance Toronto transit is Land Value Capture. The Ontario and municipal governments should finance the new transit by collecting the rise in land value that the new projects produce — a process that makes transit self-financing, with no need for other taxes."

Land values are “community created” — without the surrounding community land would have little value. When public infrastructure like transit, hospitals, schools, bridges are built, the quality of life rises and more people want to live there, so land values rise. The community — not the individual land owner — should receive the benefits of publicly-financed projects.

Without land value capture, the benefits of Toronto’s new transit will accrue exclusively to private land owners who live near the infrastructure, but this wealth should rightfully be captured to pay for the projects, In fact, land value capture is not a tax, as it doesn’t “tax” money that people actually earn, it simply returns to the community what the community creates by its collective hard work.
Frank de Jong, President, Earthsharing Canada

After posting this article I saw the Toronto Star's Queen's Park bureau chief had written "Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa demands talks with Ottawa on transit funding".

To the point of increased wealth in areas with transit:
Sousa, who represents Mississauga South, and Flaherty, representing Whitby-Oshawa, are well-versed on the commuting challenges that grip Greater Toronto. They are both GO train riders who regularly hear about traffic headaches from their neighbours and constituents.
I am unconvinced distant Canadians should fund these elite gentlemen's transportation unless capture of increased land valuations make that funding an intelligent investment.

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