Ontario is taking its first steps towards unlocking gridlock on the most well-travelled roadways in the province.
How are they doing this? Through tolls!
The first provincial High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) pilot project is set to begin by mid-September, but drivers can start to apply for a license online as early as Aug. 1. The dedicated HOV lane on the QEW (between Trafalgar Rd. in Oakville and Guelph Line in Burlington) can be used by all carpools of two or more occupants for free. Single occupant drivers will also have the option to use the HOV lanes if they purchase a permit to use them.
The province is also issuing a Request of Information for new technologies that can aide in the monitoring and enforcement of the HOT lanes. This includes telematics, radio frequency identification, GPS, and infrared cameras.
“This pilot project on the QEW is the first step of Ontario’s plan to implement HOT lanes throughout the region. The Request for Information will help us identify the latest technology to make HOT lanes efficient and well-managed. HOT lanes can benefit all drivers on a highway by improving travel times for everyone and keep the region moving,” said Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, in a statement.
Apply online for an HOT permit between Aug. 1 and Aug. 21. Permits cost $180 for a three-month term. There are only 500 permits available for the first phase of the pilot project, but following that there will be approximately 1,000 HOT permits available every three months.
The Transit Alliance has always been a big supporter of using tolls to finance larger infrastructure developments, including transit. Experts have said that tolling highly congested roadways — like the QEW and the Gardiner Expressway — will unlock gridlock and encourage low-carbon living. The money collected by these tolls can then be funnelled into projects like the Relief Line, which will provide further options for those not wanting to drive downtown. It’s a win-win scenario if done correctly.
The Transit Alliance commends the province for getting this pilot program off the ground. It is the first step towards the continued implementation of tolls and the use of that funding towards future transit initiatives. Keep up the great work!
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