Minister of Transportation’s Op-Ed on HOT Lanes
Commuters want their government to be bold – to build more transit and to make more commuting options available.
As they have done in other jurisdictions such as Minneapolis, Seattle and Atlanta, our plan to implement HOT lanes will help reduce congestion in general use lanes and help them move faster, as well as promote behaviour changes by encouraging people to carpool.
Well-managed HOT lanes can benefit all drivers on a highway and improve travel times for everyone. Let me be very clear about our plans for HOT lanes – we are not taking away any general purpose lanes, and vehicles with 2+ people or green license plates can continue to use the HOT lanes for free.
Existing High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on the QEW will be converted to HOT lanes as a pilot project starting next summer, meaning drivers without passengers will now have the option to purchase a permit to use them. More details about the pilot, including pricing and how to access permits will be announced in spring 2016, so drivers have all the information they need to make the best travel choice that works for them.
HOT lanes work and are currently being used around the world in thirteen jurisdictions, including in cities like Minneapolis, Seattle and Atlanta.
Dedicated HOT lanes with electronic tolling in both directions will be placed on Highway 427, from south of Highway 409 to north of Rutherford Road, starting in 2021.
People who live and work across the GTHA want their government to take action to manage gridlock – a challenge that has evolved over decades. We must be willing to embrace innovation and be ready to step outside what’s always been comfortable. We must also take into account the more than $6 billion lost in economic productivity each and every year because of congestion on our highways.
Acting now prepares us for the future. Ontario’s population is expected to grow by approximately 40 per cent by 2041, placing additional importance on having modern and efficient infrastructure to support a growing population and to keep people and business across the region moving.
Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation