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Ontario Premier Doug Ford unveils 30-year transportation plan in Vaughan

Announcement of plan for Greater Golden Horseshoe includes Highway 413, Bradford Bypass
March 11, 2022
Dina Al-Shibeeb

Premier Doug Ford is ready to get some shovels in the ground.

With a bulldozer situated behind him and a “Future Site of Highway 413” sign on his right hand, Ford announced Thursday, March 10 the launch of a 30-year transportation plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe area.

The announcement includes the controversial Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass both seen bringing adverse impacts on the environment in time of climate change.

The plan is also part of a "historic" $28.5 billion investment in transit infrastructure, Ford said.

The premier said this transportation plan is needed to bolster Ontario’s growing economy and ease traffic gridlock.

"People don't want to sit in gridlocks," said Ford, citing how the Greater Golden Horseshoe area, which stretches from Niagara in the west to Northumberland in the east, is adding 200,000 new residents annually.

"We are the fastest growing jurisdiction in North America," he said, citing the area’s key economic importance, which totals $1.16 trillion in “goods that move through the region annually.”

Ford also said the plan is for future generations to follow and to attract investment to create “good jobs in our auto and manufacturing sectors” in hopes of boosting Ontario's competitiveness as “North American business hub” and a “stronger economy, an economy that works for everyone.”

“Our 30 year plan is designed to not only address today's transit needs, but the proactive solutions in place to prepare for generations to follow,” he said.

Ford also said this plan will connect resources and industries in northern Ontario to the “future of clean steel and electric vehicles.”

Ford’s announcement comes after Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass sparked protests, especially by environmental groups who are seeing the government as placid when dealing with climate change.

These two expressways would inevitably destroy portions of the Greenbelt north of Toronto, environmental groups say.

There is also no conclusion yet if Highway 413 is going to save time or how much exactly it will cost.

Highway 413 has also created division in York Region governments.

Both King and Vaughan have rescinded their support for the highway. However, York Region is still backing it.

Even within Vaughan there is division. Three regional councillors and the mayor are in favour and have voted for it regionally.

Vaughan’s Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua attended Ford’s announcement alongside his Caledon’s counterpart, Mayor Allan Thompson.

Ford said the plan is set on “building roads, bridges and highways, expanding subways and public transit, and constructing more homes.”

“We cannot allow the inaction of past governments to hold back the families, workers and businesses of this province any longer,” Ford said as Ontario’s general election nears this summer.