Can Highway 407 ease our congestion woes?

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This article can be found on page 15 in the Toronto Caribbean here

What a week! We went from Mayor Hazel McCallion having a meeting with Premier McGuinty that caught all the media outlets off guard to Premier McGuinty threatening an election. The Premier says the NDP is turning their backs on an agreement to pass the budget and the NDP says they will stick to their promise to pass the budget, but a few things in the budget needs to be addressed. At stake for the NDP was, among a few other things, the privatizing of the Public Sector. If you recall in my last article, Premier McGuinty announced that he was awarding the build/design and maintenance/operations of the extension of Highway 407 to the 407 ETR consortiums. I am sure there’s that and a list of other deals such as privatizing Service Ontario that appears to not sit well with the NDP. They maintain privatizing the public sector erodes Provincial oversight, while Premier McGuinty says the budget must pass to keep Ontario’s economy a float.

At the beginning of the week, Mayor Hazel McCallion met with Premier McGuinty to talk tough on raising taxes to fund a needed $40 billion dollar investment in infrastructure projects. Most of the commentary surrounding this announcement focused on Public Transit. While I believe there is some much needed improvements in Public Transit, Public Transit is not the only solution to our traffic congestion woes. Highway 407 was built to relieve traffic congestion and there is enough anecdotal evidence that would suggest it’s not being used to its fullest potential. Think about it. You have a Private entity whose model is to raise tolls to lower traffic volumes on a vital piece of infrastructure that was planned for over 50 years, to relieve the forecasted traffic congestion we are now experiencing.

April 19th, 1997-The Toronto Star’s, Jim Kenzie writes, “Open Up Highway 407 and let drivers try it for free. If commuters fall in love with the toll way, it’ll cut traffic elsewhere”…

June 12th, 1997-The Toronto Star’s Bob Mitchell writes “Toll Road Finally Open” and quoted excited commuters.

June 14th, 1997-The Toronto Star’s Jim Kenzie writes, “Highway 407 is worth it-for free True value will be seen in how 401 congestion is relieved”

September 28th, 1997-The Toronto Star received a letter from Wayne Debly of Maple where he did some math and the 407 toll figures were 4 times higher than in the U.S. and that’s when the tolls were about $.10/KM

Most noticeable was this article in the Toronto Star of October 15th, 1997; the day people were charged to use the toll highway. It was a retreat back to the 401. Minister Al Palladini, who drove the toll way during the morning rush hour with his successor, Tony Clement is quoted as saying, “There’s no question traffic was very light, but once motorists get tired of getting stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Highway 401 and other routes, they’ll be back.” This was when we were only paying about $.10/KM. The minute they started to charge a toll on the 407, the increase in traffic on the 401 and other vital routes was duly visible. This is something we cannot ignore given the increase in the amount of Vehicle Registrations and Vehicle Kilometers Traveled that took place in the GTA since 1997.

The Province has a responsibility to act on one of 3 triggers in the Concessions Agreement with the 407 ETR that would bring in at least $1 billion dollars to the public purse and some much needed relief for drivers. If you think the Province should act on this, please join the group “Stop the 407 ETR’s Abuse of Power” and lend your voice to the growing throngs of people speaking out.

We want to know the social/economic impact driving on this highway has had on you. Please write to Stop the 407 ETR’s Abuse of Power, 75 Bayly Street, PO Box 14524, Ajax, Ontario, L1S 7K7 or email us at You can also find us at If you would like to keep up to date with what’s happening on a daily basis, please join our Facebook group “Stop the 407 ETR’s Abuse of Power” or you can follow us on Twitter @407AbuseofPower

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One Response to “Can Highway 407 ease our congestion woes?”

  1. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You obviously know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting
    videos to your blog when you could be giving
    us something enlightening to read?

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