In 2018, the new Ontario government announced it was reviving the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the GTA West (Highway 413) corridor, proposed to run north of Highway 407 from Vaughan to Milton. The EA had been stopped by the Liberal Government based on recommendations from an advisory panel in 2017. Transport Action Ontario participated in the previous EA, emphasizing that existing infrastructure (rail, provincial highways, regional roads) should be expanded to full capacity first.
The 2017 advisory panel report has now been removed from the MTO website, but remains available through the Internet Archive:
The report was extremely thoughtful and comprehensive. It concluded:
travel demand is very much more uncertain than when the EA was initiated 10
years ago. This includes uncertainties
in transportation technology (e.g. automated vehicles, shared mobility),
economic changes (e-commerce, different manufacturing centres, bigger service
economy) and policy changes (climate change mitigation, protection of valuable
land, complete communities). A broad
range of scenarios should be modeled.
specific promising alternatives were modelled and should be considered before
committing to a new highway:
and prioritize planned and constructed extension and expansion of existing
congestion pricing (offers much larger travel time saving than GTAW highway)
providing truck priority on Highway 407
slower growth and more compact land use patterns than assumed in EA, consistent
with recent actual growth
used in the EA was flawed, resulting in a failure to demonstrate that a new
corridor was the only reasonable alternative
preferred planning approach would be to develop a single unified transportation
plan for the entire Greater Golden Horseshoe that would align with provincial
policies and explicitly consider uncertainty
Despite this recommendation, the
previous EA has been revived “as is” and is proceeding with detailed route
evaluation. Public information sessions
were held in October. There is mixed
public reaction to the project, with concerns about induced vehicular demand
and loss of valuable farm land being paramount.
TAO will consult with other non-government environmental organizations
as to next steps.