Highway 418 in Clarington and Highway 412 in Whitby are now toll free

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Published April 5, 2022 at 12:12 pm

Tolls Highway 412 and 418
Highway 412 and 218 in Whitby and Clarington are toll free starting April 5.

The long-sought and long-fought for removal of toll on Highways 412 and 418 took effect today (April 5) in Clarington and Whitby, lifting the last remain toll on a north-south highway in Ontario.

The 412 runs through Whitby connecting the 401 with Highway 407 and has cost drivers up to 88 cents per kilometer since 2017. The 418 runs through Clarington connecting the same 400 series highways has cost drivers up 48 cents per kilometre since it’s opening in 2019.

Tolls on the 412 and 418 have been a point of debate for years stretching back to the last election cycle in 2018.

All Progressive Conservative candidates in the 2018 election, namely Lorne Coe of Whitby, Peter Bethlenfalvy of Pickering-Uxbridge, Bob Chapman of Oshawa, Lindsey Park of Durham (now Independant) and Rod Phillips of Ajax (since resigned), ran on a promise to remove these tolls.

Oshawa MPP Jennifer French, who defeated Chapman in the only non-PC win in the Region, also pledged to fight for their removal.

Talks were held over the years between the Region and the Province to remove the tolls. However they  came to naught for almost four years. Ford commented he’d “love to remove the tolls,” in August 2020 but said the roads needed to be paid off first.

French spent the years since 2018 calling for the government to scrap the tolls. She filed two motions to remove the tolls in 2018 and 2021, but each was defeated in Queen’s Park. She brought it up a again in Question Period in December 2021, reading a letter from Durham’s mayors calling for the end of the tolls.

If a driver commuted along the 8.9 km Highway 412 back and forth to work, five days a week for a year, it cost nearly $4,100. In this commuter scenario, the nearly four years Ford Government waited to lift the tolls would have cost the average driver almost $16,300.

  • $0.88 x 8.9 km = $7.83 per trip.
  • $7.83 per trip x 2 trips = $15.66 per day.
  • $15.66 per day x 260 work days in a year = $4,071.60 per year
  • $4,071.60 per year x 4 years = $16,286.40

In her last address about the highway tolls Transport Minister Caroline Mulroney said the government couldn’t lift the tolls as they were trapped in an agreement made under the previous government.

Fewer than three months after Mulroney claim the removal was impossible, Ford came to Whitby in February to announce the tolls would be removed months later. Ford said the removal took so long because there were “a lot of issues,” and “some things don’t happen overnight.”

Opposition leaders criticized the move as “long overdue,” but were pleased it happened at all.

Durham’s Municipal Leaders celebrated the move with Regional Chair John Henry commenting, “One of the Region’s focal points continues to be economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. A reliable and affordable road network that connects Durham Region to the rest of the GTHA, and Ontario, is a vital piece of a strong economy.”

The two highways are now open for use toll free.

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