Highway tolls to be banned on Gardiner Expressway and other roadways in Ontario

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Published February 15, 2024 at 11:18 am

highway toll ban ontario

Even though there are currently no tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway in Ontario, the Ford government is planning to ban any future monetization on these and other highways.

Much like the ban on carbon taxes, the Ford government is preemptively banning tolls on Ontario highways, according to an announcement from the province today (Feb. 15).

The province is introducing legislation that would, if passed, ban tolls on provincial highways, the press release states.

The legislation would amend the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act to prohibit Ontario from introducing new tolls on provincial highways and potentially require public consultation before considering new tolls.

This ban would apply to the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway once uploaded to the province, as well as the province’s 400-series highways, the release states.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t include Highway 407, which is owned by 407 ETR International Inc. Highway 407 ETR toll highway spans 108 kilometres from Burlington in the west to Pickering in the east.

This part of Highway 407 announced a rate hike late last year.

Highway 407 East, which stretches 43.4 kilometres from Pickering to Clarington, is operated by the provincial government but a ministry spokesperson confirmed this highway is not included in the ban.

The announcement today includes any future tolls. Prabmeet Sarkaria, minister of transportation, said the government is “protecting drivers from the costs of new tolls.”

Highways 412 and 418 have not been tolled since April 2022. Removing tolls on these highways is expected to save drivers $68 million between 2022-27, the province stated.

New highways — Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass — would likely not have tolls under this legislation.

Politicians and officials praised the announcement.

“This measure prioritizes the financial well-being of residents and commuters, reflecting responsible governance, and fostering a future where citizens will have a say on strategic infrastructure investments,” said Pickering Mayor Kevin Ashe.

Cutting tolls will also help tourism, business and the trucking industry.

“Roads are an investment in the supply chain,” said Stephen Laskowski, president, Ontario Trucking Association. “The trucking industry – through provincial and federal fuel taxes, federal carbon taxes, provincial registration and permit fees – is already contributing a major portion of the revenues the province of Ontario invests in road infrastructure.”

In the same press release, the province said there would be a proposal to make the current freeze on driver’s licence and Ontario Photo Card fees permanent through legislation.

And the province officially announced plans to automate the licence plate renewal process starting this summer. Licence plates will only renew for those who are in good standing — anyone without outstanding fines or tolls.

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