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February 2009
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407EAST

No I’m not talking about the existing 407ETR, I’m talking about the proposed extension from its easterly termination of Brock Road over to Highway 115/35. This new extension will be known as 407EAST.  

Why have  GTA residents not really heard about it?

Minister Jim Bradley released his announcement the same day as the Federal Budget. With all the controversy surrounding the budget there has not been much press about the 407EAST extension. Although there is some speculation that the timing was based on politics, (Isn’t it always?).
I started looking at this because of an assignment that I have due for a new class, Engineering and Public Policy. The goal was to get us thinking about the policy aspects of tolling the highway.

I came up with the following alternatives:

  1. Do Nothing: although the current system is not operating efficiently, the local road
    network could expand to take the extra capacity
  2. No Toll:Provide the necessary infrastructure conventionally
  3. Flat Toll:Same system as the original 407 and would treat all times of the day and
    people equally
  4. Varying Tolls:Places a value on the time of day related to congestion, can also place a value on ride-sharing and can separate for income disparities

I think that in the end I would go with the varying tolls and have them valued based on a time-of-day and actual congestion. I do believe in tolling roads; I believe it encourages people to carpool or use public transit, which in turn help to make the roads more efficient, I believe that it sustains itself, since the maintenance investment comes from the tolls, and I believe that it encourages people to live closer to where they need to be.

The bigger question Ontario residents should be asking is ‘will the province make the same mistake again and sell the highway to a private investor?’

Comments

Comment from Stephanie
Time February 6, 2009 at 6:18 am

My only concern is that the current alignment does not really service the existing surrounding communities efficiently. It will probably just eliminate more farms and encourage additional urban sprawl in the area. It’s main function will be servicing the small hamlet populations and of course most importantly weekend cottage commuters. I’m just mixed on this I would rather see improvements on public transit to the 905/705 communities then the construction of a new parking lot.
Just as a side note I think that the 407 to the 35/115 has been considered for years and years but hit a few hiccups with the Oak Ridges Morraine. It looks like it avoids the majority of it but it is still controversial. Local residents in the morraine are thoroughly restricted on what they can construct yet a major highway is okay.
Thanks for the post Sash.

Comment from sasha
Time February 11, 2009 at 2:21 pm

I couldn’t agree with you more, we need less roads and more public transit. I’m not sure what the answer is right now for public transit. It seems like we missed out on a mass rail system, Europe is just so far ahead of us there. But maybe instead of just a highway going out to 115/35 that there is a rail link that ties into the existing GO Transit lines that go downtown.
I think you are right that this highway just destroys farms out this way to make it easier for a few people to commute to and from the city and cottages.