The Ontario government spent $3.2 million to install and remove signs and paint markers on temporary high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes during the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games.
According to documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the province spent $306,000 painting HOV symbols and lane lines on the lanes, $1,960,000 on HOV lane signs, and $959,000 to remove them.
The 235-kilometre stretch of HOV lanes, which were set up in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, were the source of driver ire from June 29 to Aug. 18. The lanes were set up to help ease traffic congestion during the sporting event.
“The temporary HOV lanes in Toronto caused gridlock traffic at a cost of over $3 million dollars,” Christine Van Geyn, Ontario director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said in a release.
Prior to the lane launch, the province had to replace taped white diamond markings that were peeling off on the Queen Elizabeth Way through Mississauga, and Highway 427 between QEW and Highway 401.
The province is working on bringing high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes to highways in the Greater Toronto Area. Motorists travelling without passengers will have to pay to use the lanes, but they will be free for drivers with at least two people in the vehicle.
Earlier this month, Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said he will outline where toll lanes will be created and what the charges will be in December. He also said any new highway projects, including the expansion of the 401 near Cambridge, will include new HOV and HOT lanes.
“The premier is saying she may want to bring the markers back by creating permanent HOV toll lanes. How many times are we going to have to pay for these multimillion dollar paint jobs,” Van Geyn questioned.
The premier also said money generated from the tolls would help fund the Liberals $130-billion, 10-year transit and infrastructure plan.