Ever since Premier Ford reversed his government’s plans to open up Greenbelt land for development, he has been doubling down on the construction of the controversial Highway 413 project.
What is Highway 413?
Despite government claims that Highway 413 will reduce congestion and help people living in the GHTA, it is nothing more than an expensive perpetuation of 1950s transportation thinking to benefit well-connected developer friends of the Premier. The multi-billion dollar catalyst for urban sprawl would run through the Greater Toronto Area suburbs of Vaughan, Brampton and Milton. It would also cut through Ontario’s Greenbelt, conservation land, at least 220 wetlands, dozens of waterways, 2,000 acres of farmland and the habitats of at least 11 species at risk.
People are rightly concerned about the devastating environmental, social and economic impacts associated with this project and have questions as to how the Ontario government can continue to advocate for it. Will it actually save time on people’s commutes? What’s the budget? Do we need it?
Your frequently asked questions
In order to help concerned Ontarians learn more we have compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions related to Highway 413:
Will Highway 413 save travel time?
Building more highways does not reduce traffic, and Highway 413 is no exception to that. Despite project claims that it would save drivers 30 minutes, an expert panel estimated that the average drive time people could expect to save would only be between 30-60 seconds across the region.
Will Highway 413 be a toll road?
Yes, Highway 413 is likely to be a toll road. The Ontario government has consistently failed to say that the highway would not be tolled. And, it would follow a very similar route as Ontario’s existing 407 toll highway, which is both expensive and underused.
How much is Highway 413 going to cost?
It will cost taxpayers billions – the government won’t say how much but the current cost is estimated to be upwards of $6-10 billion. According to recent Freedom of Information inquiries made by the Toronto Star, land speculators closely linked to the Ontario government have driven up the prices of the land that will be purchased with taxpayer dollars in order for the highway to be built. These prices won’t be shared because the Ontario government doesn’t want you to know the price we will have to pay.
I thought we saved the Greenbelt? How can Highway 413 be built through it?
Unfortunately, current Greenbelt protection legislation allows for infrastructure (buildings, roads, power facilities, etc.) to be built within the protected zone.
Will Highway 413 ease traffic congestion?
Traffic congestion is a big issue within the GTHA. However, building a new highway won’t solve the problem. Highways encourage more people to drive, leading to more traffic, not just on the highway but on nearby roads as well. A more cost effective and environmentally friendly solution to ease congestion would be to open up the 407 ETR to truckers as illustrated in this trucking report.
How many lanes will Highway 413 be?
The Ford government states that the proposed highway will be 4-6 lanes. However, government documents show that they continue to stay quiet about their plans and are actually considering something much bigger. The Ministry of Transportation has said that the highway will have the potential to expand to 10 lanes by 2041 due to original 4-6 development reaching its capacity.
Will the highway bring more jobs, more infrastructure and stimulate the economy of nearby communities?
The only people who stand to gain from the building of Highway 413 are property developers and land speculators. Many of these are the same developers who were to benefit to the tune of $8.3 billion from the now-reversed Greenbelt removals. These government-linked developers stand to make huge profits if their land around were designated for development and connected with a major highway.
What about people in these areas who don’t have good access to public transit options?
Highway 413 will cost $6-10 billion or more – that should be used improve public transit throughout Southern Ontario, including in the communities near the proposed highway
How can I take action?
Learn more at stophwy413.ca and tell your MPP to stop highway 413.