Premier Ford has made many misleading claims about the highway he is proposing to build through the Greenbelt. We thought it would be helpful for Ontarians if we did a bit of fact checking to help you get a clearer picture of Highway 413.
*Government claims are in italics and our responses are in regular font*
Claim: People in Ontario want to see Hwy 413 built
False. Thousands of Ontarians have written to their MPPs and MPs opposing Hwy 413. In fact, polling shows that only about 29% of GTA residents want to see Hwy 413 built. Almost all municipal governments along the proposed route oppose it and the federal government has listened to the concerns and designated the highway for an Impact Assessment.
Claim: It will save drivers an hour each day
False. An expert panel determined that Hwy 413 will only save drivers in the GTA about 30-60 seconds per trip.
The underused Hwy 407 follows the same east-west route as the proposed 413, which would run just 15 km south of the 407. A better solution to reduce traffic on Hwy 401, and to save truckers time and money, would be to get trucks onto the 407.
Claim: The highway will cost $6 billion
False: Recent Freedom of Information inquiries made by the Toronto Star have shown that land speculators closely linked to the Ontario government have driven up the prices of the land that we as taxpayers will have to pay to them to build the highway. These prices are now a secret that is being closely guarded by Ontario government lawyers because they do not want you to know how much we will all be paying to build the highway.
Claim: Hwy 413 will give drivers five extra hours each week to spend with loved ones
False. Hwy 413 will enable massive new sprawl north and west of Brampton that will create gridlock as the highway fills up with cars. Hwy 413 would also run from Milton to Kleinburg. How many people commute between these two towns everyday?
Claim: The Ontario government is saying ‘YES’ to building highways, roads and public transit. We’re saying ‘YES’ to the Bradford Bypass, Highway 7, Highway 3.
All True. The current government wants to spend tens of billions of our money to massively accelerate 400 series highway construction and sprawl across thousands of acres of farmland, forests, rivers, wetlands, existing parks and the Greenbelt. This is at the expense of our climate, while creating gridlock, increased costs, pollution and a lower quality of life.
Instead, this money should be invested in public transit to create all-day GO service at all stations, to electrify the rail system and to make local public transit available to all.
Claim: Building more highways will put an end to countless hours of your time stuck in traffic
False. Building more highways creates more traffic. Southern Ontario has been building more highways for decades and the traffic only gets worse. Putting trucks on the underused Hwy 407 near the proposed 413 route would actually make more room for existing cars. The only long term, economically and environmentally sensible solution to moving people and goods in the GTHA is to have fewer cars and trucks on the existing roads. This requires investing in faster, more reliable public transit and building affordable homes in existing cities where people can walk and cycle.