Ontario releases infrastructure plan for Greater Golden Horseshoe
Long-term outlook aims to reducing gridlock in one of the fastest growing regions of North America.
The Ontario government has released its 30-year plan to build transportation and transit infrastructure in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) area. Connecting the GGH: A Transportation Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe outlines more than 100 immediate and near-term actions, including the construction of Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass.
The Greater Golden Horseshoe is located at the western end of Lake Ontario. It stretches north to Georgian Bay, south to Lake Erie, west to Wellington County and Waterloo Region, east to the counties of Peterborough and Northumberland, and includes Toronto. Currently home to 10 million people, it is one of the fastest growing regions in North America and is expected to have a population of almost 15 million people over the next 30 years.
“As the region expands, it’s important that the province invests in the necessary transportation infrastructure to accommodate the movement of the almost 5 million more people expected to reside here by 2051,” stated Patrick McManus, executive director of the Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association.
“The Greater Golden Horseshoe needs large infrastructure projects like the widening of Highway 401, the construction of Highway 413, the Bradford Bypass, and the expansion of the GO Transit system,” added Bryan Hocking, CEO of the Ontario Road Builders’ Association.
Ontario’s premier, Doug Ford, stressed the importance of Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass in his government’s plan to help improve the flow of people and goods. “As we attract more skilled workers to Ontario, we need to build more roads and highways to keep up with population growth,” he stated.
“The plan demonstrates both foresight and commitment in ensuring that the necessary transportation infrastructure is in place to keep people and goods moving efficiently so the region can continue to deliver maximum economic benefits to the province as it grows in the future,” explained Rob Bradford, executive director of the Toronto and Area Road Builders Association as he expressed his organization’s support of the initiative.
“The long-term focus of the plan provides planning certainty to the roadbuilding industry in terms of capacity building for companies, stability of employment and beyond that, opportunities for young and new Canadians to enter into our skilled workforce,” added Peter Smith, executive director of the Heavy Construction Association of Toronto (HCAT).
In addition to building new highways, the province also plans to move ahead with the largest subway build in Canadian history and expand regional passenger rail services.
“No matter how you choose to move, we are building all forms of transportation infrastructure to help you get to where you need to go more safely, quickly, and conveniently,” said Caroline Mulroney, the provincial minister of transportation.”
“Today’s announcement by the Ford government is another step forward in strengthening transit infrastructure in Ontario while generating thousands of jobs for our members and workers across the skilled-trades, while spurring economic development and competitiveness for the province,” stated Joseph Mancinelli, LiUNA International vice-president and regional manager of Central and Eastern Canada.
Rather than viewing it as a static document, the provincial government expects the plan to continuously evolve and be updated to meet forecasted growth and future needs of the region. To assist with this component of planning, the province will establish a taskforce of local leaders and advisors.