Category Archives for "Highways and Bridges"

Apr 06

Truck Subsidy on 407ETR versus Building Highway 413

By Transport Action Ontario | Highways and Bridges , Latest News

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 analysis can be viewed below.

Feb 04

Stop the Highway 413 Campaign Continues

By Transport Action Ontario | Highways and Bridges , Latest News

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.

For further information and to join the campaign , please go to

Jan 31

Input to Ontario 2021 Budget Consultation

By Transport Action Ontario | Highways and Bridges , Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Northern Ontario , Southwestern Ontario , Urban Transit

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:

  • Fulfill promises on intercity public transport
  • Continue to invest wisely in GTHA transit
  • Cancel the GTA West expressway (Highway 413)
  • Support Short Line Railways

Our submission can be viewed here:

Oct 25

Transport Action Ontario AGM and Public Presentation – October 24, 2020 – UPDATED

By Transport Action Ontario | Events , Highways and Bridges , Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Northern Ontario , Southwestern Ontario , Urban Transit

Updated: a video recording of the entire meeting is now available:

View on our Youtube Channel

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

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

Aug 20

New Report – Is Building Highway 413 the Best Option for Moving People and Goods?

By Transport Action Ontario | Highways and Bridges , Latest News , Major Reports


For immediate release: Thursday August 20, 2020

A new report – Is Building Highway 413 the Best Option for Moving People & Goods in the GTA-West Region? – shows the proposed GTA-West Highway is a poor use of funds and suggests alternatives to meet the region’s transportation needs

Toronto, Ont. – A  report released today by Environmental Defence, Sustainable Vaughan and Transport Action Ontario, challenges the wisdom of the proposed GTA-West Highway, which would run from the Highway 401/Highway 407 interchange near Milton, to Highway 400 near Kleinburg. This highway proposal, also known as Highway 413, was cancelled in 2018, but then resurrected by the current government. The report argues that the highway will harm the environment and damage communities, while offering little benefit for commuters, making it a poor use of $6 billion tax dollars. 

“We don’t need another highway. Highway 413 was cancelled because the public didn’t want it, and because experts determined that the social, environmental and economic costs of the highway outweighed the meagre benefits that this project could deliver,” said Keith Brooks, Programs Director with Environmental Defence. “Highway 413 is still a bad project, and a waste of tax dollars that would be better spent on public transit. Moreover, with more people expected to work from home in the future, a mega-highway is the wrong fit for the region’s transportation needs.”  

The adverse environmental impacts of a new transportation corridor of this size are significant, and include impacts to rivers, wetlands and forests, the loss of thousands of hectares of prime agricultural lands including about 1000 hectares in the Greenbelt, damage to waterways from road salt, air pollution affecting nearby residents and increased greenhouse gas emissions. 

In addition, there is no evidence to support the idea that highway expansions solve traffic congestion due to what’s known as induced demand. Research has shown that construction of new highway capacity is met soon thereafter with an exactly proportional increase in traffic, due to changes in driving behaviour. Little is accomplished for traffic relief. 

“Highway 413 is a bad investment for the citizens of Ontario. It would damage the environment, consume land for low-value uses, promote urban sprawl, not solve traffic congestion and move Ontario away from its climate change goals,” said Peter Miasek, President of Transport Action Ontario. “The transportation alternatives suggested in this report, together with innovative land use ideas like Brampton’s urban boulevard concept, are a much better investment of money.”

The report shows that investments in GO Rail, light rail, and bus rapid transit projects in the western GTA could move four times as many people as the highway could, for a comparable cost. The report also discusses the alternatives proposed by the expert panel struck by the previous government, which argued that extending and expanding existing highways, congestion pricing, and giving trucks priority on Highway 407ETR would accomplish the goals of Highway 413 at a much reduced cost. 

The province of Ontario has announced a plan to fast track the environmental assessment for the highway, and recently announced the preferred route. The consultation period for the expedited environmental assessment closes on August 22nd. Meanwhile, the City of Brampton recently voted in favour of a walkable, bike-friendly, higher density, boulevard concept in place of Highway 413, reinforcing that the highway is a bad fit for the region. 

“The government has an outdated view of how to boost Ontario’s economy – a new highway, more sprawl, and more pollution isn’t the answer,” adds Keith Brooks. “Transportation is the largest source of carbon emissions in Ontario. In addition, recent modeling estimated that pollution from traffic causes almost 900 premature deaths per year in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). We don’t need another highway, more cars, and more pollution.”

The report may be viewed below: