By Kouki Onnagawa
When Toronto unveiled the plan to create Highway 413, there were many mixed opinions on the matter. Many say that the highway would severely disrupt the environment in the area and would definitely be underused, while others believe that this highway would be a crucial step towards improving the infrastructure of Toronto.
The new highway, 413, announced by Premier Doug Ford, is set to pave over a big part of the greenbelt, natural areas protected by the government, farms, wetlands and forests in the Greater Toronto Area. This major route would cover a large portion of Ontario’s farmland, cost the government millions of dollars (paid for by taxes) and deteriorate the quality of water in many major rivers. Many argue that instead of trying to build a new highway, the government should improve public transportation services and put taxpayer dollars into much more efficient services. Highway 407 is currently underused, while the 401 is jammed with vehicles.
Environmental Defence and their campaign, “Stop the 413,” believe that building another highway will not improve commute times of workers in the GTA and instead the government should work to fix the infrastructure of highways currently in use. However, many believe that Highway 413 could potentially improve commutes for workers in Toronto.
Since the highway was first proposed in 2005, the population of Toronto has drastically increased, and the existing infrastructure of highways can not support our current capacity, says Frank Notte (Trillium Automobile Dealers Association Director of Government Relations). Notte also says that “If we are to properly accommodate economic and population growth, we need to increase the supply of both roads and public transit.”
Overall I believe that the 413 would not at all benefit Toronto. Because Highway 407 is severely underused, perhaps improving the infrastructure of this major highway can help reduce highway traffic within Toronto.