Premier Doug Ford Touts Full Funding for Long-Proposed Bradford Highway Project, No Tolls | The Canadian News

Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford has pledged to fully fund a controversial Greater Toronto Area Expressway project that has been in the planning stages for decades, though his progressive Conservative government has yet to calculate the full cost. .

There is no set date for construction of the 10-mile Bradford Bypass to begin as design and other planning work continues.

But Ford was in Bradford, Ontario, on Monday against a backdrop of heavy construction machinery and local support officials to tout his government’s promised financial support for the project that he said will save time on commuting and reduce the congestion.

The highway will not have tolls either.

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“This project is a fundamental part of our plan that Ontario is building,” he said. “This new detour (will help) get people where they need to go much faster, and we also know that it will help get products to market faster.”

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The proposed 16-kilometer, four-lane expressway would connect existing Toronto-area highways in Simcoe County and the York region. The government allocated $ 2.6 billion in its fall economic statement for roads and bridges this year, including a commitment to advance the Bradford Bypass, but has not provided an exact figure for spending on the highway.

Environmental impact concerns have been raised, as the project’s latest environmental assessments were completed in the 1990s. Opposition politicians have also questioned plans for the route in the legislature that appear to benefit Ford allies.

Ford on Monday blamed the delays on projects by past governments, who he said have sided with anonymous “ideological activists” against road construction.

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“Communities in this area have been asking governments for years and decades for a solution to worsening traffic congestion, but their voices fell on the deaf ears of previous governments that turned their backs on commuters,” Ford said.

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Ford and Mulroney also said Monday that the highway will protect the environment because travelers will spend less time running their cars if they can get to destinations faster.

But that was countered by Green Party leader Mike Schreiner, who said in a statement that the highway will contribute to pollution and impact sensitive wetlands and waterways. He called Ford to cancel the plans.

“We need to squash climate pollution, not create more,” Schreiner said.

The New Opposition Democrats questioned claims that the highway will save time on commuting. Financial critic Catherine Fife accused Ford of prioritizing the road to benefit its allies and said the government should be more transparent in its planning process.

Liberal leader Steven Del Duca said municipal support for the road is worth listening to as new environmental assessments are conducted to address concerns that they are out of step with current standards.

The government said new design and environmental studies are underway and are expected to be completed by the end of next year, following the June provincial elections.

With files from Global News

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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