The Hamilton Spectator
Highway 407 tolls will rise 12 per cent in February, the fifth such
increase in three years.
politicians say another toll increase on Highway 407 is creating
a two-tier transportation system.
company that owns the toll highway is increasing rates 12 per cent
-- the fifth increase in three years. Starting Feb. 1, it will cost
between 12 and 13 cents a kilometre, depending on the time of day.
That's up from between four to 10 cents a kilometre it cost to drive
the highway in 1999.
toll increase has outraged critics and highway users who say the
government backtracked on a promise to limit toll increases.
a two-tier transportation system," said David Christopherson,
NDP MPP for Hamilton West. "There is one road for the rich
and another for the poor. It's a luxury to take the 407 and it wasn't
conceived that way. "
who was an NDP cabinet minister when the toll highway was first
conceived, said it should never have been privatized. He said his
government planned to remove the tolls once the highway was paid
he said a private corporation has been given free rein to raise
tolls as long as traffic volume doesn't decrease.
has been a scam from the get-go," Christopherson said.
to the government's initial claim, there is nothing in the 407's
contract that limits the company's ability to increase tolls. A
government media "backgrounder," dated April 1999, said
tolls could be increased annually by 2 per cent plus inflation for
would mean that tolls could increase by about three cents per kilometre
over the first 15 years," the document states.
Ryan Bailey, spokesperson for Transportation Minister Norm Sterling,
said that document wasn't "as complete as it could have been."
It didn't mention the company can increase tolls on the highway
as long as traffic volume doesn't drop.
new increase means that as of Feb. 1, the cost for light vehicles
will be 12.95 cents a kilometre during peak hours -- weekdays between
6 and 10 a.m. and between 3 and 7 p.m. -- and 12.1 cents a kilometre
off peak. The old fee was 11.5 cents, any time. Light vehicles without
a transponder also pay $3.30 per trip for a non-transponder fee,
up from $2.65.
Clark, former Transportation Minister and Stoney Creek MPP, did
not return phone calls yesterday.
Agostino, Liberal MPP for Hamilton East, said the government backed
down on its promise to protect consumers when they first sold the
407 for $3.1 billion in May 1999.
Tories have basically given this company a licence to print money,"
he said. "It's a bad deal for drivers."