Finance Minister says Ontario may let drivers pay to ride in HOV lanes

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TORONTO - Ontario motorists could soon have the option of paying extra to drive in high-occupancy-vehicle lanes on highways to help fund transit and infrastructure projects.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said Monday the Liberals were considering road tolls or some form of tax to fund public transit expansion in the Toronto-Hamilton area and to pay for upgrading municipal roads and bridges across Ontario.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa says one option would be to let drivers who are alone in their cars pay a premium to avoid traffic jams and ride in the HOV lanes.

He says it's something for consideration as a new "voluntary" revenue source because drivers are not forced to use the HOV lanes if they don't want to.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak says he wouldn't impose tolls on existing roads, and doesn't trust Liberals whose first instinct is to raise taxes.

But Hudak won't say how he'd fund transit and infrastructure projects other than to say he'd consider options after the government has squeezed all efficiencies out of the system.

The New Democrats have also said they don't support new taxes or tolls to pay for expanding public transit and repairing roads and bridges.

Geographic location: Ontario, TORONTO, Toronto-Hamilton

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