Durham MPP Lindsay Park is applauding the province’s recent announcement to extend the toll rate freeze for two more years on Highways 412 and 418.
“The people of Durham need financial relief as we continue to fight the pandemic and work towards our local economic recovery,” states Park, noting continuing the freeze on the 412 and 418 tolls through to 2023 will help businesses, families and residents during this challenging time.
Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney says the announcement comes as part of the province’s commitment to review and explore how tolling can meet evolving transportation needs.
“Freezing toll rates will reduce the cost of transportation and provide much needed financial relief for families and businesses using these highways,” says Mulroney, adding an increase in toll rates is “the last thing Ontarians need to worry about as they face new pressures during the pandemic.”
The toll rates for Highways 412 and 418 will be frozen at their current levels until May 31, 2023.
However, toll rates for the provincially-owned Highway 407 will remain frozen until May 31, 2021 and will increase based on the Consumer Price Index on June 1, 2021, according to the province.
Toll rates on the privately owned and operated 407 ETR are not impacted by these measures.
According to the province, current toll rates on Highways 407, 412 and 418 are, on average, 40 per cent lower compared to the 407 ETR.
The province also recently released a detailed report on the implementation of tolling on Highways 407, 412, and 418, which provides an overview of how the province undertakes an in-depth analysis of these highway projects, including details on traffic impacts, revenue forecasts, toll rate analysis, and economic benefits.
“The released report finally provides transparency to the people of Durham on the previous government’s decision to build the 412 and 418 as tolled highways, with set annual increases planned to the tolls for the next 25 years,” states Park.
The tolling analysis report was commissioned by Mulroney in response to advocacy by Park, Whitby MPP Lorne Coe, Ajax MPP Rod Phillips, and Pickering-Uxbridge MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy.
The total project cost for the three connected highways was approximately $4.439 billion, which equates to $3.86 billion in 2011 dollars, the year the province entered into the tolling agreement. The investment includes costs for construction, 30 years of operations, maintenance and rehabilitation, and tolling infrastructure.
According to the province, more than $100 million was invested in Durham Region as part of the toll highway construction for upgrades to other infrastructure projects to mitigate the potential impacts to residents.