By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
The province is one step closer to removing tolls from Highways 412 and 418.
Bill 43, Freeing Highways 412 and 418 Act, has passed its second reading, having passed its first reading in late 2018 in the Ontario Legislature.
Oshawa MPP Jennifer French had the chance to debate recently, stating the government said they would pass the bill in principle, and is happy to see it pass its second reading.
“I am pleased that we will get to continue fighting for the removal of tolls. The next step is up to the government to pull it to committee to actually figure out when and how to remove the tolls,” she says.
French, the NDP Transportation Critic, says she’s spent the last two years pushing for the removal of the tolls, and says it was disappointing to see some of her colleagues in Durham Region choose not to stand up and speak in favour of the bill.
“The government did a brief statement. It was a half-hearted commitment to let the bill continue,” she says. “It was not a resounding commitment to remove the tolls, so we will continue to push and do our best as a region to make our case to all of the government members who represent Durham Region.”
French says this has been a really important and unifying issue across Durham Region.
“We’ve certainly heard loudly and clearly from municipalities, community members, and chambers of commerce and boards of trade,” she says.
She notes Premier Doug Ford has the power to take her bill and turn it into law and remove the tolls.
“People are going to find it hard to forget this campaign promise,” she says.
Ultimately, French says it’s fine to vote in favour of her bill, but what is most important is that they follow through and remove the tolls.
“We need this to become law and if the government’s plan is to hope that this goes away, it will not,” says French.