The Trillium Automobile Dealers Association is recommending the Ontario government build more highways to meet the growing demand of population and employment growth.
TADA, which represents about 1,100 franchised new-vehicle dealerships in Ontario, made the recommendation as a response to the Ministry of Transportation (MOT) discussion paper on the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) following the Throne Speech delivered on Monday.
The Golden Horseshoe is 32,000 square kilometres in size and includes several municipalities beginning at Niagara on the Lake and running along the coast of Lake Ontario all the way up to Oshawa.
TADA made four recommendations to the MOT, which indicated the Government is committed to addressing the unique transportation needs of every region across the province. Ontario Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney indicated in a news release the Government’s vision of an interconnected transportation system that provides a “safe, seamless and accessible” experience for all Ontarians. In particular, Mulroney noted “a system that works better” for the nearly 15 million people who will call the GGH home by 2051.
The paper outlines initiatives and concepts to meet the collective goals and the transportation challenges of the future. It sets out priority actions as a foundation to achieve it.
TADA’s four recommendations are:
- Building Highway 413, spanning Highway 400 to the Highway 401/407 interchange in Milton to relieve traffic congestion on Highway 401, one of the busiest highways in North America – and connect five 400 series highways.
- Building the Mid-Peninsula Highway, connecting Hamilton to the Peace Bridge Border crossing in Fort Erie. The QEW is nearing full capacity based on a 2017 Niagara Region Transportation Master Plan.
- Twining the Peace Bridge border crossing in Fort Erie.
- Extending Niagara’s Highway 406 to Port Colborne.
“Traffic in the Golden Horseshoe is notorious for taking two precious commodities from us – time and money,” said Frank Notte, TADA’s director of government relations. “Building the four projects we identified will reduce traffic congestion, boost productivity and increase the supply of highways to help match the increasing demand. Ontario’s new car dealers thank Minister Mulroney for putting the resources behind the discussion paper and starting the conversation about the future transportation needs of the Greater Golden Horseshoe.”
In Monday’s throne speech, the province indicated it remains steadfast in its commitment to an economic and fiscal recovery fueled by economic growth, including building roads and highways.
“The Throne Speech highlighted the importance of building new highways to support economic growth,” Notte said. “TADA believes building these projects will help place Ontario’s economy on the road to recovery.”
Mulroney noted that although the GGH is an integrated economic region, its communities are diverse with different transportation needs. Moreover, she said the discussion paper considers many new challenges including economic transitions, new technologies and shifting demographics that will alter the way people use the transportation system.
Mulroney added the Government will carefully consider and incorporate feedback over the next few months as it works towards releasing the GGH Transportation Plan later in 2021.