Another road isn't the answer
RE: 'Mid-pen is about competitive access' (June 4).

Hamilton Spectator Letters to the Editor, June 5,2003

The main point of Councillor Marvin Caplan's argument seems to be that Hamilton needs more serviced industrial land next to highways in order to increase its base for industrial tax assessment and to create jobs. His argument is flawed for a couple of reasons.

First, Hamilton has created industrial assessment bases along the Queen Elizabeth Way, Highway 403 and the Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway. Yet it still finds itself in a serious budget crunch. Why would an additional road solve the problem? It hasn't in the past. So, let's try to think differently in the future.

Second, he refers to "serviced" industrial land. The mid-peninsula highway would likely run several kilometres south of Hamilton's airport. Imagine the cost to the city to provide roads, water, sewers, police and fire coverage, and all of the other services required to make the area attractive and viable for industry.

Third, there is much speculation that the mid-pen will be a toll road. This would act as a strong deterrent to industry. What firm would want its suppliers and employees to have to pay a toll to get to the front door? What industry would want the toll meter ticking as soon as every shipment left the back door?

The big picture is that the mid-pen is not the answer for either Hamilton's local concerns or Niagara's desire for a trade corridor. Tolls would keep trucks from using the mid-pen as they have discouraged trucks from using Highway 407. If the trucking industry avoids using toll roads, any benefits the mid-pen might have had for Hamilton or the province will fail to materialize. And this will be a shame, given the $1.5 billion cost of the road and the environmental harm it would cause.

-- Susan McMaster, Hamilton.

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