Town not sure highway answer to traffic woes

Milton Champion - Nov. 22, 2002

Richard Vivian
Nov 22, 2002

The Town of Milton isn't convinced the Mid-Peninsula Highway is the answer to traffic woes along the Q.E.W.
Instead, there should be a stronger focus on rail transit, the Milton administration and planning committee heard Monday night.
To that end, the committee endorsed a motion to advise Premier Ernie Eves that the Town is supportive of a comprehensive transportation plan for the Greater Toronto Area/Golden Horseshoe, but not necessarily the Mid-Peninsula Highway.
The motion is in stark contrast to a request from the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) for municipalities to select a preferred end connection for the proposed highway.
"It's a little premature to go off half-cocked and really not knowing exactly what some of the preferences are," Mayor Gord Krantz told The Champion, adding he believes the highway is needed as part of a comprehensive plan, but is unsure which connection would best work.
"When they (Province) do the environmental assessment stuff, that's when I will take a position and I'm sure Milton council will take a position on either endorsing or opposing it (route) depending on how it affects Milton."
The MTO is currently developing a terms of reference to conduct an environmental assessment (EA) for the construction of the Mid-Peninsula Highway. The highway is proposed to connect Niagara to Hamilton, before swinging east to connect to Hwy. 6, Hwy. 401 or Hwy. 407.
The MTO has asked the Town to respond to the options presented, indicating its preference. However, Town staff felt that to be inappropriate at this time, calling the process to-date 'bias, flawed and inconsistent' because it doesn't address all environmental concerns.
"Staff has indicated that it is not prepared to bring forward an ultimate recommendation for committee's consideration because of the many unresolved issues relating to the process and its timing," a report presented to the committee states.
"Alternatively, staff is recommending that they be directed to continue to monitor the EA process and report back to council at an appropriate time."
To date, several municipalities along the proposed route have raised concerns about the need for such a highway, as well as the impact it would have on environmental features such as the Niagara Escarpment -- to which it would run parallel.
Councillor Brian Penman added to the list of unresolved concerns, asking Town staff to investigate the Province's intended management of the highway.
Should the roadway be operated as a toll road, it's imperative the Town receive a portion of taxes derived from its use, he said.
Milton council hasn't addressed the committee's motion at this time, but is expected to do so Monday.



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