I was doing some digging around on another subject and stumbled upon this article from the CBC, dated Friday, June 6, 2008.
Ontario's smog causes 9,500 deaths per year, medical association says
"Air pollution causes 9,500 premature deaths a year in Ontario, new research suggests.
Data from the Ontario Medical Association says that smog causes a worsening in respiratory and cardiac illnesses and contributes to earlier mortality as a result.
The OMA's Illness Costs of Air Pollution model finds that of the 9,500 premature deaths from air pollution, 1,000 occurred immediately after times of intense pollution. The model uses air pollution levels, rates of illness and demographic data to project air-related premature deaths for 2008.
The areas with the highest numbers of smog-related deaths in Ontario were Toronto, with 2,130, Peel Region, with 700 and York Region with 590."
Interestingly, I found another CBC article dated Wednesday June 15, 2005, dealing with the same subject. What was being stated at the time was shocking. "The damaging effects of breathing smog could contribute to 5,800 premature deaths in Ontario this year, the Ontario Medical Association said Tuesday."
It was shocking as the numbers related to deaths from 2005 to 2008, related to smog, have been increasing and NOT decreasing. Actually the percentage rise of smog related deaths between the dates of the two articles is 61%!
So, my big questions are: What exactly does the Province of Ontario do with all that Drive Clean money (it is hard to even find out how much money the province pulls in, yearly, from Drive Clean)?
Likewise for the City of Toronto.
What is it doing with that added "Toronto Tax" of $60 ($30 for scooters and motocycles) to Toronto residents' yearly license sticker fees that has been running and collecting for the past year? Apparently it is not going towards anything that is fighting smog. That money is barely even being used for bike lanes or advocacy programs for bicycles. If it is, then what's left is pocket change that is mixed in with the lint of that pocket.
As was reported in March of this year, the City of Toronto will only(?) see $46 million of the $56 million it projected for 2009 in collection of this Personal Vehicle Tax.
I'd still like to know what that $46 million will be wasted, er, spent on. I can't seem to find an answer to that. What I did find was a Q&A on the city's website:
17. Where do the revenues for the PVT go? Can residents expect new/enhanced services?
The PVT was developed to address City funding shortfalls and help raise additional revenues required to maintain and enhance services and programs benefitting city residents and businesses.
The vehicle tax is not directly applied to any one program. However, it is helping fund increases in capital expenditures in the road/transporatation areas, which by 2011 will consume all the new PVT revenues.
Translation: No, you're not getting shit from it. Get over it.
Full Q&A (.pdf):
Still want bicycle licensing, Michael Walker?