Speech for 401 Widening
Ontario Hansard – 13-April 2017
Text of Mr. Arnott’s statement in the Ontario Legislature, April 13, 2017
The Minister of Transportation announced earlier this week a Request for Qualifications to design, build, and finance what they’re calling “the Highway 401 expansion project.”
Highway 401, we’re told, will be widened between the Credit River in Mississauga to Regional Road 25 in Milton, adding new lanes to relieve significant traffic congestion which occurs in both directions many times through the day.
What the Government overlooked, however, when they were patting themselves on the back on Monday, was the significant role played by the Town of Halton Hills Mayor, Council, and staff in encouraging a widening of the 401 as a preferred option to other projects that were being considered as part of the GTA West Corridor Study.
Having expressed strong opposition to what the Ministry called Alternative 4-3, and working with local residents and the Region of Halton, the Town engaged the respected engineering firm Hatch Mott MacDonald to do a study, which concluded that the widening of the 401 would be a better option than building a new highway along the Alternative 4-3 route.
As Halton Hills’ MPP, I supported the Town’s position and repeatedly advocated for it at Queen’s Park, making this issue our number one legislative priority in the fall of 2011.
Some questions remain unanswered by the Government’s announcement on Monday:
- When will shovels be in the ground to initiate the project? When will it be completed?
- Is this finally the end of the GTA West Corridor Study, after 10 years of uncertainty for local communities and residents? If not, what’s happening?
- Will the Government be turning the HOV lanes they’re promising into toll lanes? Can they guarantee that they will not charge tolls in the future?
I urge the Minister to answer these important and relevant questions, and publicly acknowledge the role the Town of Halton Hills played in the idea to widen the 401.