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Feds to assess Ford government's Highway 413 plans

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, front, speaks as Ontario Premier Doug Ford listens after taking part in a ground breaking event at the Iamgold Cote Gold mining site in Gogama, Ont., on Friday, September 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The province of Ontario’s plans to build a highway that would connect the 407 and 410 will now fall under the scrutiny of the federal government.

Federal Environment Minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, released a statement Monday saying the GTA West Project, which would see the creation of Highway 413, will now be under “the federal impact assessment process.”

The new highway was first planned, and later scrapped, by the prior Liberal government. The Ford government revived it, saying it would ease traffic on the busy 401.

Critics say that it will cut through the Greenbelt and environmentally important wetlands

“The impact assessment agency of Canada and other federal departments have identified clear areas of federal concern related to this project,” Wilkinson wrote.

“My decision is based on their findings that this project may cause adverse direct or incidental effects on federally-listed species at risk, and the uncertainty that officials have brought to my attention around whether those effects can be mitigated through project design or existing mechanisms.”

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca has already said that if elected as Premier next year he will cancel plans for Highway 413 and use the money, approximately $8 billion, to build and repair schools across Ontario.

RELATED: Del Duca says if elected premier, he’ll scrap Highway 413 plans and use money for schools