Ford government to ban tolls on provincial highways. What this means for Gardiner, DVP

By Lucas Casaletto

The provincial government announced legislation on Thursday that, if passed, would ban tolls on highways except for Highway 407.

Prabmeet Sarkaria, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, said the ban would apply to Toronto’s Don Valley Parkway (DVP) and Gardiner Expressway once they are uploaded to the province and Ontario’s 400-series highways.

Our government, under the leadership of Premier [Doug] Ford, is on a mission to keep costs down for families and businesses,” said Sarkaria.

“First, we scrapped the tolls on Highways 412 and 418. Now, we’re protecting drivers from the costs of new tolls. Together with our cut in the gas tax and eliminating the licence plate sticker fee, we’re saving drivers hundreds of dollars every year.”

The changes will not impact the tolls in place on Highway 407, Sarkaria confirmed, where the money is collected through the private 407 ETR company.

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

The legislation will be introduced next week.

The province is also moving forward with building Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass, which the government says will bring relief to “one of the most congested corridors in North America.”

Highways 412 and 418 have not been tolled since April 2022, and the province says removing tolls on both is expected to save drivers $68 million between 2022 and 2027.

In November, the Ford government announced it was uploading the costs of the Gardiner and the DVP in a new deal with Toronto, freeing the city from the costs of maintaining the two major highways.

Ford has continuously pledged not to toll the highways, an idea previously floated as a way for the city to offset the costs of maintaining the routes.

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