GTA transport plan includes new highways

by The Canadian Press (CPSTF) & Inside Logistics Staff

Ontario’s 30-year vision to grow transportation networks around Toronto includes highway expansions and potential new transit networks, though many elements of the plan are not fully costed.

Connecting the GGH: A Transportation Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, sets out the 30-year plan. The Greater Golden Horseshoe extends from Waterloo, Wellington and Brant County in the west, Peterborough and Northumberland in the east, Simcoe County in the north, and Haldimand and Niagara in the south.

The province says the Golden Horseshoe region is expected to grow to 15 million people by 2051 and the transportation plan aims to fight anticipated gridlock and efficiently move goods. The region is a nationally significant hub for goods movement and business travel that sees $1.16 trillion in goods transported annually on its highways.

$21 billion in highways

Over the next decade, the province says it plans to spend $61 billion on public transit and more than $21 billion on highways.

The highway costs include parts of the controversial Bradford Bypass and Highway 413 projects, which are central parts of the transportation plan but haven’t been fully costed yet.

“Congestion in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area is already costing the Ontario economy up to $11 billion a year in productivity losses; and this figure is expected to continue rising. The Ontario supply chain cannot continue to absorb these types of inefficiencies while competing for market share in the North American supply chain,” said Stephen Laskowski, president, Ontario Trucking Association (OTA).

“The Ontario Trucking Association strongly supports the Government of Ontario’s decision to address key infrastructure needs, such as reducing chokepoints and building additional capacity in GGH network. These investments are great news for our sector and the Ontario economy.”

The plan – laid out by the Progressive Conservatives a few month before the provincial election – mentions new “conceptual” transit connections between Burlington and Oshawa north of Toronto and a loop connecting the Ontario transit line to Toronto’s Personal International Airport.

There are also plans to widen and expand existing highways.