Province Providing Financial Relief for Drivers in Durham
MICHAEL O’MORROW, Communications Branch, Ministry of Transportation
DURHAM: Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, announced, Ontario is providing financial relief for people in Durham, by extending the toll rate freeze for two more years, on the province’s publicly-owned Highways 412 and 418. These measures are part of the Ontario government’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,” said Minister Mulroney. “An increase in toll rates is the last thing Ontarians need to worry about, as they face new pressures during the pandemic.”
The following tolling changes are now in effect:
Toll rates for Highways 412 and 418 will be temporarily frozen at their current levels, until May 31st, 2023. Toll rates for the provincially-owned Highway 407 remain temporarily frozen, until May 31st, 2021, and will increase, based on the Consumer Price Index, on June 1st, 2021. Toll rates on the privately owned and operated 407 ETR are not impacted by these measures.
Ontario has also released a detailed report on the implementation of tolling on Highways 407, 412 and 418, as part of the province’s commitment to review tolling on these highways. The new tolling report 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 people of Durham need financial relief, as we continue to fight the pandemic and work towards our local economic recovery. Continuing the freeze on the 412 and 418 tolls, through to 2023, will help businesses, families and residents during this challenging time,” said Lindsay Park, MPP for Durham. “The released report, also, 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.”
“Extending the toll rate freeze on these highways will provide relief for people experiencing financial uncertainty, as a result of the pandemic,” said Lorne Coe, MPP for Whitby. “Durham families can have the peace of mind knowing, the cost of travelling on those roads will stay frozen at their current levels, for two more years.”
The province will continue to review tolling options on Highways 407, 412 and 418. It will explore opportunities to improve the performance of these highways.
Current toll rates on Highways 407, 412 and 418 are, on average, 40 percent lower compared with the 407 ETR.
Minister Mulroney commissioned the tolling analysis report, in response to advocacy by Peter Bethlenfalvy, MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge, Lorne Coe, MPP for Whitby, Lindsey Park, MPP for Durham, and Rod Phillips, MPP for Ajax.
The total project cost for the three connected highways was approximately $4.439 billion ($3.86 billion in 2011 dollars, reflecting the cost in the year the province entered into the tolling agreement). This investment includes: costs for construction, 30-years of operations, maintenance and rehabilitation, and tolling infrastructure.
As part of the toll highway construction, the province invested over $100 million in Durham Region for upgrades to other infrastructure projects, to mitigate the potential impacts for residents.