Ontario NDP promise to remove tolls for truckers on Highway 407 if elected

Promise wasn’t included in the NDP’s costed election platform

Ontario’s New Democrats say they wouldn’t make truckers pony up if they drive on a private toll highway in the Toronto area.

The New Democrats say the promise would help relieve traffic on the provincially owned 400-series highways in southern Ontario by diverting truck traffic to the 407 Express Toll Route.

The party says commercial drivers would not have to pay the fare for the underused highway that runs from Burlington, in the west to Clarington in the east.

The promise is not included in the NDP’s costed platform, but the party says it would pay for it by pursuing penalty fees from the company that owns the highway.

The NDP says the Progressive Conservative government didn’t go after that payment, which it estimates at between $1 billion and $2 billion.

The party did not respond to questions about the feasibility of recouping these costs, or whether there’s a deadline to do so.

Shortly after the NDP announced the commitment, the Green Party issued a statement highlighting that they had already pledged to fund a toll-free, dedicated truck lane on Highway 407. Their proposal was first released in April.

The Tories have promised to reduce congestion on Toronto-area highways by building a new highway that runs parallel to the 407 ETR, which would be called Highway 413 and cost an estimated $10 billion.

The New Democrats, Liberals and Greens have pledged to scrap the highway if they were to form government after the June 2 election.

Some opponents of Highway 413 see the 407 as an underused alternative, with great potential to lure traffic from the busiest highway in Canada, the 401. 

In March, the advocacy group Transport Action Ontario floated the idea that the provincial government should in effect make it free for transport trucks to use the 407.