Upgrading QEW is the best solution

The Hamilton Spectator - July 8, 2003.

RE: 'Burlington angst stops road; Highway on hold until escarpment, growth concerns addressed' (June 28).

At first, this story appears to reflect good news about the proposed mid-peninsula highway. But a close look at statements by the Ontario Transportation Ministry (MTO) and the minister shows that not much has changed.

By stating that further consultation about the environment and the escarpment will now occur, the minister basically assumes that "need" has been established and it's now time to look at environmental impacts.

But MTO's own documents reveal that the need for a new highway corridor has never been established.

The Needs Assessment: Demand Forecast document from July, 2002, shows clearly that the option of improving the Queen Elizabeth Way would be cheaper, move vehicles through the system at higher average speeds, and provide greater congestion relief than Option C, the preferred route. (Options F and G also fail to provide the congestion relief and average system speeds that the improved QEW would). Of the 11 options then on the table, route C through Burlington ranked 10th at improving traffic congestion and 11th at improving average vehicle system speed. Route G (an expanded Highway 403 through Hamilton) ranked 11th for traffic relief and 10th at improving vehicle speed. Route F to Highway 401 ranked fifth at congestion relief and seventh at vehicle speed. An improved QEW ranked second at congestion relief and fourth for improved vehicle system speed.

Improving the QEW would also save about $500 million in construction and expropriation costs, savings that could be used for transit and rail improvements which would protect our air quality. Improving the QEW would avoid imposing another toll road on taxpayers. Importantly, improving the QEW would greatly reduce damage to the Niagara Escarpment.

Details are available by visiting http://www.midpeninsulahighway.on.ca/

Let's take a clear and unbiased look at the need for this new highway. Let's look at the issue from the point of view of all citizens -- not just special-interest groups.

Why should we build the most expensive route when it's also the least efficient solution to future traffic congestion? Is this a wise use of taxpayer dollars?

-- Dave Eckersley, Hamilton.


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