Time to revisit the GTA West corridor

My work day has me driving across the GTA to attend meetings with stakeholders, and I often find myself sitting in traffic on Hwy. 401 going nowhere fast.

While there have been some infrequent improvements and upgrades, the western part of the GTA has seen no significant new highway addition since the 407 nearly 20 years ago. A recent Metrolinx study notes that traffic congestion will cost GTA residents and businesses $7 billion a year by 2031. Something must be done to improve traffic congestion in our region. Transportation infrastructure is vital to each and every one of us, as it links people to where we live, work, shop and play.

Earlier this year, the Ontario government decided on the advice of an advisory panel’s recommendation not to go forward with the GTA West Corridor; instead, one that is about one-third the size of the analysis area of the environmental assessment will be protected from development, while the province assesses what infrastructure will be needed to support the growing region. The land in York, Peel and Halton regions will be protected from development while the assessment takes place.

Where does the cancellation leave the residents of the GTA? The GTA Corridor West was not just a proposed highway. It was a means to unlock both commercial and residential land for development. Its central location, running from Hwy. 400 in Vaughan, across Caledon and Halton Hills and connecting to Hwys. 401/407 in Milton, would have been a pressure relief for existing highways.

The economic benefits of the corridor would have been enormous. In Peel Region alone, $1.8 billion in goods are moved to and from the area every day. Furthermore, four-in-nine jobs there depend on the movement of goods.

The corridor would connect urban growth centres, facilitate the growth of new employment and business areas and create greater economic competitiveness. Much of the recent development in the Town of Milton happened around Hwys. 401 and 407. The GTA West Corridor would have had the same economic growth potential, bringing new housing to the GTA that will see its population grow to 9.7 million by 2041. Good development requires adequate infrastructure. We need to prepare for the future now.

BILD strongly supports a transportation network such as the one the GTA West Corridor would enable. It plays a significant role in sustaining the type of development that is in line with the province’s intensification policies. It would allow us to plan and create complete communities within the area, which is needed to meet future population growth.

During the 2018 provincial election campaign, the new provincial government made a commitment to revisit the environmental assessment for the GTA West Corridor. It is important for the residents of the GTA that they make good on this promise.

As the municipal elections approach, we are encouraging voters to talk to their candidates about ways to bring new housing to market that people can afford to buy. Visit buildforgrowth.ca and send a message to your local council or mayoral candidate to commit to increase housing supply and affordability for the people of the GTA.

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