Need for mid-peninsula highway not proven

Burlington Post -- Letters to the Editor July 9, 2003.

Re: Province re-evaluating proposed highway (The Post, July 4).

While your story appeared at first to many of us to reflect good news about the ongoing mid-peninsula highway controversy, a close look at the statements issued by the MTO and the transportation minister unfortunately shows that not much has changed.

The core issue is still that of "need". You quote Councillor Taylor as stating that the MTO still needs to go back and re-examine the need for the highway. Many of us agree.

By stating that further consultation will occur at this stage, the minister basically assumes that "need" has been established and it's time to look at environmental impacts.

However, MTO's own documents reveal that the need for a new highway corridor has never been established -- let's slow down for two minutes and look back at their Needs Assessment, Demand Forecast document from July, 2002.

The document shows clearly that the option of improving the existing QEW would be cheaper, would move vehicles at higher average speeds and would provide greater traffic congestion relief than would route option C (options F and G also fail to provide the congestion relief and average system speeds that the improved QEW would).

Of the 11 options then on the table, route C through Burlington ranked 10th at improving traffic congestion and 11th at improving vehicle system speed.

Route G along Hwy. 403 ranked 11th for traffic relief and 10th at improving vehicle system speed. Route F to Hwy. 401 ranked 5th at congestion relief and 7th at improving vehicle speed.

An improved QEW ranked 2nd at traffic congestion relief and 4th for improved vehicle system speed. (All references are taken from the MPTC Needs Assessment, demand forecast, Appendix K, starting pg. 262, July, 2002.)

Improving the QEW would also save about $500 million in construction and expropriation costs, savings that could be used for transit and rail improvements, which would protect air quality. Improving the QEW would avoid imposing another toll road on taxpayers.

Improving the QEW would greatly reduce damage to the Niagara Escarpment.

Let's take a clear and unbiased look at the real need for this new highway. Let's look at the issue from the point of view of all citizens, and not just special interest lobby groups or land speculators.

Do we want to once again leap into a huge expensive project without careful thought?

Dave Eckersley, Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment (COPE)

(By e-mail)


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