ONTARIO: STOP HIGHWAY 413 AND THE BRADFORD BYPASS TO PROTECT GREENBELT LAND
The Ontario government plans to spend $6-10 billion dollars of public money on two new mega highways - Highway 413 between Milton and Vaughan, and the Bradford Bypass which would cut through the Holland Marsh south of Lake Simcoe. Both highways will destroy important farmland, natural areas and sections of the Greenbelt.
Building Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass would increase harmful air pollution, put endangered species at greater risk, and make climate change worse. The 413 alone would create up to 17 million tonnes of carbon emissions by 2050 - the year that Canada is supposed to reach net-zero emissions. Many local councils along the routes have opposed these destructive highways and declared a climate emergency, but the province is still planning on going ahead - against the wishes of local communities who want a healthy future.
The GTA needs transportation solutions, but building more highways does not solve congestion. In fact, experts say Highway 413 would save commuters less than a minute of driving on average across the region. Instead of spending $6-10 Billion dollars on another traffic jam, the Ontario government should be investing in low-carbon public transit, walkable communities, and climate change solutions.
Sign the petition to tell Ontario to CANCEL Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass, and invest in our future instead.
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I am writing to express my opposition to Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass. These proposed highways will create harmful air pollution and carbon emissions, rip through the Greenbelt, forests, and prime farmland, and waste billions of taxpayer dollars which could be spent on more effective transportation solutions for people in the GTA.
Here are the main reasons for my opposition:
- The highways will destroy important green spaces and prime farmland. The corridor needed for Highway 413 is 170m wide and about 59km long. The highway would destroy natural areas like rivers, wetlands, conservation areas and forested areas, including approximately 85 water crossings, and prime agricultural lands, and about 400 acres in the Greenbelt. The Bradford Bypass would cross several watercourses feeding into Lake Simcoe's Cooks Bay and bisect the lake's largest and most important wetland, the Holland Marsh. The environmental assessment done in 1997 warned of contamination of surface and groundwater, loss of significant wetlands and habitats, increased air pollution and loss of farmland.
- Commuters will see little to no benefit from these highways. An expert advisory panel appointed by the province determined in 2017 that the proposed Highway 413 would save drivers a mere 30-60 seconds per trip, and that the transportation needs of GTA West residents would be better met by alternatives like public transit. The Bradford Bypass will also do little to help commuters. Evidence shows that highway expansions don't solve traffic congestion. More highways means more drivers, more car-dependent subdivisions, more pollution, and more traffic. This pattern has been well-documented in highway projects around the world.
- The cost to taxpayers is massive - not what we need during a recession. The cost of the transportation corridor is likely to be at least $6-10 Billion. The Bradford Bypass is estimated to cost $2.2 Billion. Spending billions on highway infrastructure instead of much needed public transit projects or other priorities like health care and education is a big mistake.
- Building Highways will increase carbon emissions from vehicles. As traffic increases to fill the available space, more cars will spew out more greenhouse gas emissions. Highway 413 would increase harmful air pollution and create up to 17 million tonnes of carbon emissions by 2050 - the year that Canada is supposed to reach net-zero emissions. It's the same story for the Bradford Bypass. This is bad news for local communities along the route who have declared climate emergencies and will see their transportation emissions rise.
- People who live along the highway routes will suffer health impacts. Peel Region is already a hotspot for air pollution from vehicles, and that this pollution is worst near highways and interchanges. People who live close to highways suffer greater health impacts from air pollution, and will experience higher risk of diseases like asthma, lung cancer, childhood bronchitis, and other cardiovascular issues. Highway 413 alone could create over $1.3 billion in damages from air pollution by 2050.
- Local municipalities don't want the highway. The 413 would cross three regions and numerous municipalities. Vaughan, Halton Hills, Mississauga, King Township, and Orangeville all passed Council motions to oppose Highway 413 based on local opposition. Community groups along the route of the Bradford Bypass are also opposed.
More highways are not the solution to Ontario's congestion problems. Let's listen to the evidence we have and build back better.