By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
If elected, the Ontario NDP Party has vowed to “free the 412”, the PC Party has said they will review current tolls.
Local party candidates, including Oshawa incumbent MPP Jennifer French, vowed to drop tolls from the access highway to the 407 and also prevent tolls on the planned Highway 418 near Courtice.
Currently, Highway 412 is the only access road to the 407 that is tolled.
French says residents in Durham have likened this decision to “extortion.”
The NDP, she claims, is the only party even considering dropping tolls, as she says the Liberals will continue with current policies and the Conservatives have “no plan” to do so.
At the Oshawa riding debate held on May 15, Liberal candidate Makini Smith says she would “definitely be open to having conversations” around the tolls.
PC candidate Bob Chapman said his party would consider reviewing tolls on those highways, but was not committed to it.
Whitby NDP candidate Niki Lundquist says the 412 had “great promise” when it was opened in June 2016, but is “virtually empty” on a daily basis.
The NDP candidates say more drivers on the 412 will get drivers off regional and residential roads.
French revealed the NDP would honour current plans to extend GO Transit rail service to Bowmanville.
The City of Oshawa and Durham Region, as well as Town of Whitby, have all passed resolutions asking the province to drop the tolls.
The province’s decision to put tolls on the local 407 access highways have been a point of contention with many local and regional politicians, namely the late Roger Anderson.
“Aren’t you happy that you are the only folks who use tolls who have to pay to get on it,” Anderson stated during a speaking engagement last year. “Just let me give you some of the highways they don’t toll, the 404, 427, 403, 410, 401…any north-south street in Toronto…pick a street you don’t pay.”
“It’s absurd,” he added.