407 extension approved with a blank cheque, in latest example of Liberal seat-protection
As part of its recent spending restraint, the Liberal government of Ontario, led by Dalton McGuinty, truncated its plans to extend the 407 highway through Oshawa all the way to the 115/35 Highway, which leads to Peterborough. This got the mayor of Oshawa so upset he tried to raid Toronto’s discarded Transit City funding. He was rebuffed on that, but not to fear: swing seats in the 905 continue to prove that the most effective way of getting provincial cash in an election year is to threaten the government’s majority.
The Ontario government will build the Hwy. 407 east extension to Harmony Rd. in Oshawa by 2015 and complete it to Hwy. 35/115 by 2020, Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne is announcing. The government has been under pressure from many Durham Region politicians and residents to complete the extension in one phase.
Instead, the government revealed last year that it planned to build the first phase from Brock Rd. in Pickering to Simcoe Street in northern Oshawa, drawing concerns from nearby residents of the Hamlet of Columbus that traffic would pour into their small community.
Ah, but here’s the interesting part. The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star both mention that “it is not known” how much this will cost. For a government that’s staked a reputation on fiscal rectitude in the face of a deficit (the reasoning behind gutting the Transit City funding last year), to write Oshawa a blank cheque is more than a little disingenuous.
This isn’t the worst blank cheque ever to be written, but it’s likely to cost a minimum of $200 million to complete the 407, and, incidentally, try to save two Liberal seats in Oshawa. We’re sure it’s totally worth it.
• Hwy. 407 to 35/115 complete by 2020 [Toronto Sun]
• Liberals to extend Highway 407 [Toronto Star]
• Toll highway 407 to connect with Peterborough link by 2020 [Globe and Mail]
5 thoughts on “407 extension approved with a blank cheque, in latest example of Liberal seat-protection”
Why are we paying to expand a toll road whose profits go into the pockets of foreign companies?
Speaking of interesting points, Oshawa is Blue through and through. Provincially we have 3 Tories and on the Federal side of things we have 2 Tory Ministers as elected reps. So, this won’t save any Liberal seats and likely won’t win them any either. As For Mayor Henry, judging by his politics, he’s a blue boy, too, or at the very least fiscally responsible. I don’t believe extending the 407 is about lining the coffers of a private firm, but ending the ridiculous gridlock in this end of the GTA.
Just to clarify, tolls from the extension of the 407 between Brock Road and 35-115 will be collected by the province.
“… it’s likely to cost a minimum of $200 million to complete the 407, and, incidentally, try to save two Liberal seats in Oshawa.”
It was noted by another commentator, but I’ll state it clearly:
The piece is dead wrong. There are no “two Liberal seats in Oshawa” to save. And for that matter, Oshawa riding is one seat provincially (yes, there are pieces of the city in other ridings, but not enough to matter).
What’s more, why is this 407 extension being depicted as a favour to one city, Oshawa, when it passes through several Durham Region cities, from Pickering to Ajax, to Whitby, to Oshawa, to Clarington…
Sadly, John Michael McGrath, the author of this commentary doesn’t have his facts right — several of them in fact, and Toronto Life apparently didn’t do any fact-checking on the piece.
I miss the old days of journalism, when writers weren’t juggling dozens of stories at a time, when freelance journalists weren’t working from home in front of their laptops, when editors actually edited, before factcheckers were outsourced or eliminated, and when tabloids like the Toronto Sun weren’t cited as an authority.
This 407 Highway Extension is not needed and a waste of our taxpayers dollars that this liberal government does not have being so far in debt it is a catastrophe just like the 404 Highway extension to Lake Simcoe up my way.
These are both very expensive, car dependent/commuter creating 400 series highway extensions. This initiative does not promote or create public or sustainable transportation in the GTA. There are also serious environmental and natural heritage conservation concerns with these projects.
Comments are closed.