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Province to review speed limits on 400 series highways

Last Updated May 1, 2019 at 3:20 pm EDT

The Ford government is looking at ways to get people moving quicker across the province and they’ve got their eyes on your speedometer.

Ontario Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek announced on Monday that the province is planning to review speed limits on the 400 series highways.

“If you look back on the history of why speed limits were set where they were, back in the ’70’s there was an energy crisis and in order to conserve fuel they lowered the speed limits on our highway system and it stayed that way ever since,” he explained.

“I’ve heard lots of stakeholders mention that maybe it’s time to take a review of how our speed limits are in the province, and I’ll have more to say on this next week on this issue, but we’re moving forward with consultations and the pilot project to see if it’s time to move forward.”

Yurek wouldn’t get into specifics on just how high the province is considering raising the speed limits too but said more details on the province-wide consultation and pilot project will be released soon.

This is all part of new legislation that will be introduced at Queen’s Park on Thursday called Getting Ontario Moving.

The new legislation will also see tougher fines for people who drive too slowly in the passing lane, as well as speeders in construction zones or near tow trucks.

A province-wide consultation will also be conducted on the rules of the road for bicycles, e-bikes and e-scooters.

The government is also proposing to allow solo motorcycle riders to use Ontario’s high occupancy vehicle lanes.

Yurek said the province plans to eliminate a requirement for owners of pick-up trucks and trailers to get them inspected if they are for personal use. It will also allow vehicle dealers to apply online for permits, plates and validation stickers on behalf of customers, instead of them having to line up at Service Ontario.

The Getting Ontario Moving legislation also includes the upload of the TTC’s new and expanding subway projects to the province.

He says the upcoming bill would mean transit can get built faster and the government can focus on a regional network.

“That means fare integration and improved connectivity between transit systems,” he said in a speech. “We would be able to prioritize transportation projects and make decisions based on what is best for the people of Ontario, not just Toronto.”

The province has a greater capacity to finance projects, issue zoning orders, and compel utilities to prioritize relocation work, Yurek said.

Toronto and the provincial government are currently in discussions about Premier Doug Ford’s plan to take over responsibility for the city’s subway system. Ford has said the Toronto Transit Commission would retain the day-to-day operations of the subway, buses, and street cars, and the city would keep fare box revenue.

Files from The Canadian Press were used in this story