Ontario considers tolls

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MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Ontario’s Transportation Ministry is considering more toll roads, like Hwy. 407 north of Toronto, and perhaps a toll expressway running parallel to the Queen Elizabeth Way that runs south of the city.

Onatrio’s Finance Minister Ernie Eves – a fleet executive before he entered politics – has even suggested highways including Hwy. 401 could also face tolls as a way to improve Ontario’s crumbling highway network.

Eves told a group of road builders that some highways are in “a sad state of neglect” and that full tolls or toll lanes could be used to ease traffic pressures and improve safety. The SuperBuild project, announced in the May 1999 Ontario budget, will seek to generate public-private sector investment of $20 billion over five years to improve Ontario’s infrastructure. As part of this investment initiative, Transportation Minister David Turnbull, David Lindsay, President and CEO of Ontario’s SuperBuild Corp. and Michael Butt, Chairman of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, have announced that ownership of 1.5 km of the main access road to Pearson Airport, Hwy. 409, will now be transferred to the GTAA.

“We’re building roads to prosperity in Ontario and this announcement will enhance access to Pearson, one of the most important transportation hubs in North America,” said Turnbull. “The transfer will allow the GTAA to continue with its plan to reconfigure the roadway, involving an investment of $80 million.

In related infrastructure plans, Ontario’s Premier Mike Harris has announced plans to make Hwy. 11 a four-lane highway up to South River by the year 2003. n

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