Whereas it is recognized some relief of traffic congestion on Highway 401, especially for thousands of truckers, is required;
And whereas, some public support for Highway 413 is based on a real concern over continued congestion on Highway 401 and a lack of viable alternatives to the proposed Highway 413;
And whereas, the Highway 407 Electronic Toll Route (407 ETR) was created to provide a truck by-pass across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and in doing so, relieve congestion on Highway 401;
And whereas, current high tolls act as a disincentive to the transfer of traffic to the parallel and underused 407 ETR from Highway 401 as well as from surrounding local and regional roads;
And whereas, alternatives to the construction of Highway 413 were recommended by the Expert Panel appointed by the previous government, the work of that panel contributing to the cancellation of the proposed highway;
And whereas, one suggestion by the Expert Panel included the reduction or elimination of tolls for truck traffic on designated lanes of the 407 ETR;
And whereas, the current provincial government has been demonstrating there is Budget room for creative solutions to the traffic congestion:
- Licence renewal stickers and fees for 7.5 million vehicles have been eliminated as of March 13, 2022 at a loss of $1.1 billion a year. Refunds from March 2020 are also coming, with some conditions, at another $1.1 billion. Future renewals will be free with no stickers to show renewals have been completed or alert police to check for unpaid traffic fines, more billions lost.
- A $1 billion penalty to the 407 ETR operators was forgiven by the province for failure to reduce tolls during COVID, to meet Highway 401 traffic reduction targets by attracting drivers. It is expected the same penalty will be forgiven in 2021.
- Tolls are being eliminated as of April 1, 2022 “to help Ontarians financially after hardships of the pandemic” on Durham Highways 412 (Whitby) and 418 (Clarington) at $20 million a year.
And whereas, Highway 413 will take seven to nine years to construct and require 3,057,200 tonnes of local aggregate necessitating 152,810 truck trips;
Therefore be it resolved, that the Council of the Region of Peel continue its opposition to Highway 413;
And further, that the Council of the Region of Peel strongly supports initiatives that promote increased diversion of traffic from Highway 401 to the under-utilized 407 ETR;
And further, that the Council of the Region of Peel request the Province of Ontario work with 407 International Inc. to devise strategies to increase 407 ETR usage and that the Province enforce penalties (as referred to in Section B above), provided to encourage efforts at congestion relief on Highway 401 and all surrounding roads;
And further, that the Council of the Region of Peel request the Province of Ontario provide immediate congestion relief on Highway 401 by investing sufficient yearly subsidies to support zero, or greatly reduced tolls, for exclusive truck lanes on the 407 ETR, one east and one west;
And further, that the capital cost for the proposed Highway 413, should it be cancelled, be re-designated to the expansion of long term, environmentally sustainable rapid transit throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA);
And further, that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to every Council in the GTA, all Ontario MPPs and the Peel Goods Movement Task Force.