How Vaughan’s By-election Can Help Us Reign in the 407 ETR

Change the 407Act!  Please sign & share the petition

This article can be found on page 15 of the August 15th, 2012 Toronto Caribbean.

Premier McGunity has called By-elections in Kitchener Waterloo & Vaughan for September 6th, 2012.   February 2011, City of Vaughan Councillor, Michael Di Biase, put forth a motion to have the Province work with the 407 ETR to find alternative ways to earn revenue other than raising tolls. Councillor Di Biase’s view was that high rates were a cause for congestion. I agree with Coucillor Di Biase. I have been trying to raise awareness to this problem for a while now. The amount of vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT’s) increases every year, but the ridership on the 407 ETR doesn’t. The 407 ETR boasts a rise in ridership of 1% in the 2nd quarter of this year, but when you compare the rise in VKT’s to the rise in ridership on the 407, the 407 is not handling the amount of traffic it should.

As I wrote in a previous article, Highway 407 was originally 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.

Kevin Sack, the 407 ETR’s VP of Communications and Government Relations contradicts himself when he says, “ We know if you don’t control congestion through tolls you will have a much more serious set of circumstances where the highway will be congested and not used.” This is a contradiction because if you have “congestion” on highway 407… it is being well used in my opinion. Although The 407 ETR wants to provide customers with a fast, safe and reliable trip by controlling congestion, that is not what the needs of the Province are. The concessions agreement and the Highway 407 Act allows the Province to reset the terms of the deal with the 407 ETR (and its privatesector owners) without penalty subject to certain conditions. This reset would allow the Province to address concerns that motorists have with ever-escalating toll rates and poor customer service.

Please sign and share this petition Let’s fix the 407 ETR once and for all.

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