It’s time to drive a stake in the heart of the redundant Highway 413 (aka GTA West) – before it comes back to life. And we need your help to stop this risky project that threatens to destroy Ontario farmland, damage watersheds and worsen traffic in the GTA.
This past December, Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca announced a temporary suspension of the highway’s environmental assessment. The project will be reviewed, with an update provided in spring 2016. The suspension is a step in the right direction, but we need as many voices as possible to speak out to get this highway project cancelled altogether. You can help – sign a petition or order a free Stop the 413 lawn sign.
We all know that gridlock is a major problem in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). But there are better ways to spend billions in transportation funding than building a toll highway – especially one that would pave Greenbelt land. Highway 413 won’t alleviate the GTHA’s debilitating traffic jams. Study after study shows new highways just generate more traffic. They don’t lessen congestion. The best way to reduce traffic jams is to get more people out of their cars and taking public transit. That’s why the province should invest in public transit, not another highway.
Highway 413’s proposed route threatens both natural heritage areas and productive farmland. The highway would begin near Milton and heading east would cut through Norval, a small farming community on the edge of the Credit River. It would then head north and west following Old School Road in North Brampton, where it would pave thousands of acres of prime farmland, impacting a productive farming area’s viability. It would then carve through the Nashville Conservation Reserve, where it would cut through a significant forested area in the Greenbelt and further degrade the Humber River’s water quality.
When announcing the suspension of Highway 413, Minister Del Duca cited the province’s “steadfast commitment to protect our natural heritage in Ontario, including the Greenbelt.” If Ontario is serious about this commitment and about supporting smart sustainable growth, Highway 413 should not just be suspended – it should be cancelled.
The highway is a bad idea not only because it threatens farms and natural areas. It’s an example of wasteful outdated planning that supports highway-supported sprawl, not the efficient smart growth needed for a sustainable future. Highway 413 would run just 13 kilometres north of the underused Highway 407. It’s backwards for the province to propose building yet another toll highway whose route would mirror the underused Highway 407.
Cancelling the 413 makes sense. Ontario’s Growth Plan aims to align infrastructure investments (like transit, highways and bridges) with existing and planned urban growth areas. This practice helps ensure that expensive taxpayer-funded infrastructure) will be in areas where they’ll be well used. Public transit, not highways, is the infrastructure we need to support complete communities, reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and alleviate the gridlock that plagues the GTHA.
Instead of spending $4 billion on this redundant highway, Ontario should invest in public transit to get more people moving across the region. One GO train can move 1,670 people – that means fewer cars on the road. It means less traffic and less global warming pollution. It also means more people (and goods) can move quicker across the GTHA, which is what we all want.