Ontario scrapping tolls on Highway 412, 418 in Durham
Posted February 18, 2022 1:06 pm.
Last Updated February 18, 2022 6:42 pm.
Durham Region residents will have some cheaper commuting options this spring.
The Ford government announced it would be removing the tolls on Highways 412 and 418 as of April 5.
Premier Doug Ford made the announcement alongside Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney on Friday afternoon.
“We have heard the people of Durham loud and clear, and we agree that the tolls imposed on Highways 412 and 418 by the previous government are wrong and unfair,” said Ford in a statement.
The two routes are the only tolled north-south highways in Ontario. The province says removing the tolls will allow more travel options for residents in the area.
The government said its announcement won’t affect rates on the separate, privately owned 407 ETR highway.
A Ministry of Transportation report from last year said tolling operations on Highways 407, 412 and 418 generated $160 million in total between 2017 and 2020.
Revenue from Highways 412 and 418 made up 24 per cent of the total, at $38.2 million.
The report estimated that it would take more than 25 years to pay construction costs on the two highways.
Getting rid of the tolls on the connector routes was promised by many local MPPs before the last provincial vote. Local councillors have called for it to try and remove rush-hour gridlock from the adjoining two-lane arterial roads.
Ford was asked why the idea took so long to implement, considering an upcoming provincial election in June.
“Some things don’t happen overnight,” Ford said.
John Henry, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer for Durham, says this was a focal point to economic recovery.
“This is something we have been advocating for in Durham Region for a long time. Regional Council has a long-standing resolution that there should be no tolls on Highway 412 and 418 links to Highway 407,” Henry said in a statement.
“Most recently, the Durham Region Mayors and I sent a joint letter to the Premier highlighting the need to remove the tolls to support Durham’s incredible growth.”
Both highways were built under the previous Liberal government and connect Highway 401 to the 407 — highway 412 runs through Whitby while the recently completed 418 runs through Clarington.
Highway 418 opened in December 2019 at the same time as the final extension of Highway 407.
“The positive impact of removing these tolls will be immediate,” Henry continued.
“It will promote economic activity supporting local businesses and residents that rely on these highways for the movement of people and goods. Maximizing the use of the 412 and 418 will reduce congestion on our local roads, connect people to jobs and support economic recovery.”
The province froze the tolls for both routes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The freeze was set to be in effect until May 2023.
With files from CityNews reporter Mike Eppel and The Canadian Press