When John Tory ran for mayor in 2003, he made it his business to try and connect his chief opponent, David Miller, with the unpopular ideas of imposing road tolls to pay for transit infrastructure.
Now, as Chair of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance, Tory is getting ready to go out and sell the idea of new taxes and fees – including, possibly, road tolls – that may be uncomfortable for sitting politicians, but are nonetheless needed to pay for the $50 billion regional transit expansion plan that is so far unfinanced.
Tory is aware of the political irony of it all. Indeed, in an interview with Toronto Community News, he brought it up unbidden.
"I have to accept some responsibility," he said. "When I was running for mayor, the question of road tolls came up – and who was the one who looked at David Miller in a TV debate and said are you going to stand there and support road tolls? I now realize that we probably should have had the discussion back then about how we're going to find the money."