Oshawa Residents Demand McGuinty Honour Original Highway 407 Commitment Signed with the Federal Government in 2007

Update: see previous posts – January 1, 2011 Ontario’s Private Highway 407 Ever Rising Rates, November 20, 2010 Canada Pension Plan Investment Boards Partial Owner of Toronto’s Highway 407

see source, Toronto Star

As of February 1, 2011 the Highway 407 is raising their fees, which motorists who rely upon this stretch of highway, will be called upon to pay.

Toronto’s privately run Toll Highway 407, (see the Highway 407 Act) which the Ontario government leased out in 1999, for 99 years, has been partially purchased by the investment arm (Canada Pension Plan Investment Board or CPPIB) of the Canada Pension Plan.

Highway 407 stretches 108 kilometres from Queen Elizabeth Way near Burlington, Ont., on a northeastern path that skirts Toronto and reaches Pickering in the east.

More than 375,000 trips are taken on the world’s first lucrative all-electronic, open-access toll highway on an average workday.

During the first half of 2010, traffic on the 407 increased by six (6) per cent compared to the same period last year. It set a new traffic volume record in June, 2010, when almost half a million (454,275) motor vehicles travelled on it in a single day.

The McGuinty government renegs on earlier commitment:

On March 6, 2007 the following FLOW announcement was made after the Federal government and Ontario Provincial government had negotiated an agreement:

The highway infrastructure projects announced today as part of the FLOW initiative include:
Extension of Highway 407 east to Highway 35/115
Highway 407 will be extended eastwards by 67 kilometres from Brock Road in Pickering to Highway 35/115 in Clarington, and will include two north-south connections to Highway 401: one from Ajax/Whitby, and one from Oshawa/Clarington. A provision for a future dedicated transit right-of-way is also included.
The Province of Ontario is responsible for determining the appropriate financing and delivery for this project. The project is expected to be completed by 2013.

Clarington is the where the Highway 407 was supposed to be extended to (35/115) by 2013. The McGuinty gov't. instread will now complete it in two stages, to Simcoe St. by 2015 and to 35/115 whenever they find the $ and get around to it.

The change in the McGuinty governments plans has unleashed a wave of anger with residents’ groups, municipalities, local MPs and MPPs, and the city of Peterborough, who are objecting to everything from imbalanced economic growth to traffic and safety issues.

In 2010, The McGuinty government shocked residents of Durham and the City of Oshawa, by announcing that they were going to extend the 407 Eastbound, ending the highway at Simcoe Street by 2015, as opposed to the agreed upon extension which would be built in one phase, to Highway 35/115 by 2013 (two years ealier).

On December 8, 2010 the Mayor of Oshawa, John Henry, wrote to Ontario’s Premier, Dalton McGuinty, asking him to honour his original commitment (signed off with the Federal government in 2007) to build the Highway 407 east extension in one phase to Highway 35/115 in Clarington, by 2013, instead of building the first phase ending at Simcoe St. N., just south of the hamlet of Columbus by 2015 and the rest to Highway 35/115 when the government finds the money later on after 2015.

Henry’s letter recounted the meeting of November 23, 2010 (see Henry’s briefing notes) in which he presented a briefing on behalf of Oshawa and on behalf of a number of other Mayors of various cities (Adrian Foster – Clarington, Chuck Mercier – Scugog, Daryl Bennet – Peterborough and Durham Region’s Chair – Anderson) affected by the “new” plan, to MTO Minister Kathleen Wynne.

In the meeting of November 23, 2010 John Henry presented a fair assessment of the consequences of ending the Highway 407 extension to Simcoe Street by 2015 and how the second phase idea of the Provincial government (to split the construction and expansion of Highway 407 East to Simcoe Road and to further expand the 407 later (after 2015) if and when the Province could afford to do so to Highway 35/115 in Clarington) would adversely affect a number of cities.

Henry explained that the Provincial Governments two-phased approach would have crippling impacts on Durham and Peterborough. The phasing will have devastating and crippling impacts on Durham Region and Durham’s Eastern Municipalities, not the least of which are approximately $300 million in immediate unbudgeted capital costs.

He urged the government to reroute $8 billion set aside for Toronto’s LRT so the entire 407 extension can be completed by 2013, according to the agreement signed with the federal government in 2007.

The Regional chair, Roger Anderson informed approximately 150 participants in a meeting at Oshawa’s City Hall, that the effects of constructing the 407 extension to Simcoe Street will spew 2,100 motor vehicles every hour onto a road that was not designed or built to accomodate that volume of vehicular traffic. He added that the necessary road improvements (as a result of the new 407 plan) in Durham would necessitate $255 million and would take all of Durham’s money to accomodate the road improvements.

Oshawa residents are already facing a hike of at least 2 per cent on their property taxes this year.

Durhamregion.com wrote the following in an article dated November 25, 2010:

As noted earlier this year, a deal is a deal. The Ontario government must build the 407 from Brock Road in Pickering to Hwy. 35/115 in Clarington and live up to its commitment. To end it at Simcoe Street is to risk future phases being set aside in the interests of political expediency. It’s too important to the residents of Durham Region to let the government off the hook.

Update: January 27, 2011 – Durham road warriors fight for a longer 407

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One thoughtful comment

  1. the last thing we need is another pay highway. unless it is built and owned by the province i would be opposed to building it.

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