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Promises, promises – Where is the money to build both GO and a planned highway through the Escarpment going to come from?

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON July 5, 2011 – Tim Hudak has promised to build the Niagara to GTA (NGTA) highway (formerly known as the Mid Pen highway) that has a price tag of up to $6 billion. He has also said he would fund GO Service to Niagara Falls.

 

The NGTA highway has a price of $6 billion and the GO service would come in at something in excess if $1 billion . Given that this is taxpayers money Hudak is spending we would like to know which of our pockets is Hudak going to take that money from?

Anyone who has managed a household or business budget knows there is only so much money to go around. If you decide to buy a new car you may not have money to fix up the house.

Geoff Brock, spokesperson for Stop the Escarpment Highway Coalition (SEHC) want to know, “Where is the money coming from to build both?” The Niagara region and the rest of Ontario may have to make a choice, he says, between fast, efficient, clean public transit or new highways that will chew up prime agricultural land and rip through the Escarpment.

Brock notes many Niagara residents, local politicians and businesses were looking forward to having regular GO Service extended from Niagara Falls to Toronto and beyond. Brock says, “Not only would GO Service reduce congestion on the QEW but it would also raise home prices throughout its Niagara corridor, as many studies have shown.” As well, regular GO service would be a boon to the tourism and wine industries in the Niagara area, Brock points out.

“Besides the unaffordable cost, building a new four lane highway will lead to more aggregate mining on the escarpment with its attendant noise and truck traffic,” adds Brock

 

“Building the NGTA Highway is an idea that’s been around since the Harris government introduced it in 2001. It’s never been built because the case has never been made to justify its cost. “The case still has not been made,” says Sue McMaster, Co-Chair of COPE (Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment), who notes that rising oil prices have escalated the price of asphalt making the proposal more economically-unsound than ever. Extending GO service to Niagara would also create a number of jobs in the region as well as improve the quality of life for commuters in the Niagara, she says.

Brock calls the NGTA highway plan an old, unaffordable idea that just doesn’t make sense. “It’s time to focus on transit solutions that are affordable and offer long-term benefits to the people of Niagara,” Brock says. Before we spend all our infrastructure money on new and unnecessary roads, the citizens and businesses of Niagara need to let their local politicians know that they want GO service more than a highway.

 

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