Ontario dedicates $3.4 billion to new roads plan

| 6/19/2006

The Ontario government estimates there will be two million vehicles added to highways in the Canadian province during the next 25 years, and something has to be done to limit congestion.

Ontario Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield has announced the launch of a five-year, $3.4 billion construction effort called the Southern Ontario Highways Program.

A provincial government press release indicates money will be spent in several key areas, including widening Highway 401 from Woodstock to Cambridge, a key economic corridor; planning high-occupancy vehicle lanes on the Queen Elizabeth Way from Oakville to Burlington; HOV lanes along Highway 417 from Highway 416 to Palladium Drive in Ottawa for commuters; and the widening of Highway 7 from Highway 417 and Carleton Place.

“This program will have a positive and lasting effect upon the lives of all Ontarians,” Cansfield said in the press release. “Improving and expanding our highway system will address growing congestion, combined with our far-reaching investments in public transit.”

Cansfield said the goal is for Ontarians to spend less time stuck in traffic.

The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario reports that $1.2 trillion worth of goods is carried on Ontario highways each year.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced that the new highway funding deal will build 130 kilometers of new highway and repair 1,600 highway kilometers. The deal will also build 64 new bridges and repair 200 existing bridges.

McGuinty stated that Ontario will spend $1.4 billion from the province's fuel taxes for public transportation including street cars, buses and transit routes; $838 million on public transit in the Toronto area; $1.8 billion to make Northern Ontario highways safer; and $14.3 million to improve rural links to major highways.