Statement from Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence on the cancellation of the GTA West highway

Toronto, Ont. – We applaud the province of Ontario for ending the environmental assessment for the GTA West highway and in doing so, cancelling this unnecessary highway.

The highway was slated to cut through portions of the Greenbelt and pave over thousands of acres of prime farmland and the largest remaining forested areas in Vaughan.

Stopping this highway is a game changer. Shifting the billions this highway would have cost to public transit will benefit far more people, improve the health of our communities and reduce carbon pollution.

The GTA West highway, also known as highway 413, represents an old style approach to transportation planning that perpetuates gridlock. We hope that this decision marks a turning point away from an outdated and costly sprawl growth model.

Studies have shown that when a highway is built, more people drive, which adds to congestion, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. By investing in public transit, biking infrastructure, and more efficient goods movement we can shift to building healthy walkable communities.

This decision shows the province listened to expert evidence and decided to take a more climate-conscious, public-transit oriented approach to solving the GTHA’s transportation challenges. With over 30 per cent of Ontario’s carbon emissions coming from transportation, cancelling the GTA West (Highway 413) demonstrates a step in the right direction in addressing climate change and building a better region.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

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For more information or interview requests, please contact: Stephanie Kohls, 416-323-9521 ext 232 (work), 416-885-7847 (cell), skohls@environmentaldefence.ca