TORONTO, Ont. – OTA President David Bradley today called for legislation to protect toll road users in Ontario.
Bradley was responding to recent comments by Premier McGuinty indicating that his government will consider using tolls to pay for the widening of Highway 69 to four lanes between Parry Sound and Sudbury.
“A week ago, in response to media reports that Premier McGuinty plans to use tolls to build new roads and highways in Ontario, we called upon the Premier to establish a “Toll-Road Users Protection Act” that protects road users in legislation and establishes the parameters under which the provincial government would use tolls to help pay for building new infrastructure,” Bradley said.
“For example, we’ve said that the Toll-Road Users Protection Act should guarantee that all economic impacts will be considered; that tolls would only be applied to certain, significant new highway construction in consultation with road users; that a viable non-tolled alternate route must exist for all road users; that tolls would be reasonable; that they would not be used to pay for ongoing maintenance; and that the tolls would come off when the capital costs of the highway are paid for. We also don’t see why road users should pay gasoline and fuel taxes for miles traveled on toll highways.
“Unfortunately, we have no government policy framework for using tolls and this is making Ontarians justifiably very nervous about the government’s intentions,” he said.
“The last government got into trouble over Highway 407 and over its plans to build a mid-peninsula highway in the Niagara Region because it had no toll road policy framework, in legislation or otherwise. Unfortunately, this government seems to be going down the same toll-road. Ad-hoc policy statements made in press scrums create confusion and concern among road users about what the government’s policy actually is. If they are going to continue to talk about toll roads, then they have an obligation to introduce a Toll-Road User Protection Act during the spring session so that we can be assured that road users aren’t taken to the cleaners.”
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