Smith, Special to The Milton Canadian Champion
Jan 10, 2003
has not yet 'tolled' for the proposed mid-peninsula highway.
Critics of the road from Niagara to the Hamilton-Halton area say documents
show a toll highway is planned.
ministry of transportation says the information is from the earlier
needs assessment stage, when both toll and non-toll scenarios were being
Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment (COPE) say they're against
the highway regardless of whether it's a toll road.
residents are already upset about Hwy. 407 toll rate increases and they
don't think the mid-peninsula highway is necessary, said COPE's vice-chair.
"They think it will have tolls on it and they won't give the government
carte blanche to build it," said Dave Eckersley.
if a mid-peninsula toll highway is built, it will likely be connected
to the other toll route, Hwy. 407.
route would run from Niagara to Hamilton's airport at Mount Hope. It
would then extend to one of three possible connections.
being considered include a link-up with Hwy. 407 in Burlington.
would continue to Peter's Corners (Hwys. 5 and 8), loop north of Waterdown
and head down the Niagara Escarpment to connect with Hwy. 407 near Walker's
noted the ministry initially rejected the two other proposed connections
-- Hwy. 401 west of Milton and Hwy. 403 in Hamilton. "They added
them again to quiet some of the protests," he said.
said both toll and non-toll scenarios were examined only for the Hwy.
he believes this further indicates the ministry favours a Hwy. 407 link-up
for the mid-peninsula highway. "They were only going to do all
the math on the one they were going to build."
said building another toll route will create a two-tiered road system,
with toll highways serving "the rich guys."
ministry documents also indicate private partners are being sought to
produce revenue for the proposed highway.
only be done through tolls, said Mr. Eckersley.
of planning for a mid-peninsula toll highway is found in ministry needs
assessment and technical summary documents, say COPE officials.
cost estimate noted that "fully electronic tolling technology has
been assumed (as per Hwy. 407)."
policies and their revenue impacts were part of critical issues in the
ministry's needs assessment demand forecast.
ministry references to "identifying the impacts of tolls on the
demand for the mid-peninsula corridor and on the QEW" and "identify
an optimal tolling strategy."
Ministry documents also mention confirming the route's financial feasibility
as a toll facility, plus assisting ownership and partnership opportunities
for the mid-peninsula corridor.
A ministry spokesperson said when determining traffic levels for the
proposed highway, both toll and non-toll environments were examined.
fact that we looked at and generated these scenarios does not imply
the proposed highway will be tolled," said Bob Nichols. "That
remains something for the government to look at at a future date."
toll and non-toll information provides the ministry with a better understanding
of what traffic levels could be on the highway, he said.
said both toll and non-toll options are still being considered.
As for only doing both scenarios for the Hwy. 407 connection, Mr. Nichols
noted existing highways were not to be tolled when the needs assessment
was being done.
phase of planning for the proposed highway involves determining terms
of reference for the environment assessment. The Ministry of Environment
is expected to rule on this by March.
Besides the Hwy.
407 link-up, other alternatives involve connecting with an expanded
Hwy. 403 on Hamilton Mountain or a route through Peter's Corners and
Flamborough to link up with Hwy. 401.
The latter connection would be made west of Milton and would avoid a
cut through the escarpment.