Pressure continues to mount in opposition to Highway 413. May of the municipalities on or near the route have resolved to oppose it. Transport Action Ontario (TAO) made a deputation to Markham Council on May 3 outlining the reasons to oppose this highway. It can be viewed below.
We are pleased to report that Federal Minister of the Environment Jonathan Wilkinson ruled favourably on a request by 8 non-government organizations, including TAO, to designate the Highway 413 project for a federal Impact Assessment (IA). Although the scope of the IA is not yet know, we expect that this will create a “sober second look” at all aspects of the project, including identification of superior alternatives like transit and truck toll subsidies.
The idea of providing a toll subsidy for trucks on 407ETR during busy hours is being proposed as an alternate to building the GTA West (Highway 413) expressway. An analysis by Transport Action Ontario shows that the costs of such a truck subsidy are less than half the costs of constructing and maintaining Highway 413. Furthermore, due to its better location, 407ETR would also be more useful to truckers, with commensurate benefits to air quality and climate change.
The campaign to stop this proposed 50 km new expressway just west of Toronto continues in full swing. As readers know, the project was revived by the Ford government, and is rapidly proceeding with studies under a streamlined Environmental Assessment process. The campaign is lead by Environmental Defence (ED), with strong support from other non-government organizations including Transport Action Ontario (TAO). One of the foundations is the report issued last summer co-authored by ED, TAO and Sustainable Vaughan (see our post of August 20 under “Highways”). It summarized the costs and impacts of the Highway and identified viable transportation alternatives, including new rapid transit lines and truck priority on the nearby Highway 407.
The campaign includes extensive mainstream media coverage, social media, lawn signs, letters to elected officials and public meetings. To date, both the Provincial NDP and Green parties have come out in opposition to the Highway. Recently, Ecojustice, a legal group acting on behalf of numerous groups including TAO, submitted a well-researched brief to the federal government requesting a federal Environmental Assessment. The report can be viewed below.
Transport Action Ontario was invited to provide a short verbal presentation on recommendations for the 2021 Ontario Budget to Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy on January 29. We also submitted the same remarks plus supplemental information to the Ministry of Finance.
We proposed a list of 9 items. These are described in the supplemental material, and can be boiled down into 4 overarching themes:
Updated: a video recording of the entire meeting is now available:
Transport Action Ontario’s (TAO) annual general meeting, postponed from its usual spring date due to the pandemic, will be held on Saturday, October 24, 2020, starting at 1:00 pm Eastern. As is our usual practice, we will also have a presentation open to the public. Both events will be virtual, and free to join from your computer or phone. Here are the details:
Public Presentation (1:00 pm)
We are pleased to announce that our guest lecturer will be Stephen Wickens, transit researcher and journalist with a four-decade career at four Toronto-based daily newspapers. Steve will summarize his recent report for the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO) entitled “Station to Station: Why Subway-building Costs have Soared in the Toronto Region”. This thoughtful report has been well received and hopefully will inform government decisions about at-grade versus below-grade rapid transit projects.
Annual General Meeting (2:00pm)
The AGM will review 2019-2020 performance by the organization and elect the executive and board of directors for the upcoming year. TAO members in good standing will receive an electronic invite and can vote at the virtual meeting, or give a proxy to another member. Send proxy information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TAO is always looking for new members to join our board of directors. If you have a passion for public transportation and want to make a difference, contact us at email@example.com.