Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday May 12, 2022
Use Highway 407 to ease GTA traffic woes
Premier Doug Ford raised some eyebrows last week when he talked about highways, and actually made a lot of sense.
That’s not what we’ve become accustomed to hearing from the premier in this area. He seems bound and determined to build new highways wherever he can, no matter the financial cost and environmental consequences.
But when it comes to Highway 407, the underused, mostly private toll route across the northern GTA, Ford hit the bullseye.
“I would never have sold it,” he said. “What did they sell it for, $3 billion? And it’s worth, what, $20 billion now? So I don’t believe in selling off toll roads.”
Two things on that. First, current estimates actually put the value of Highway 407 closer to $30 billion, making the sale back in 1999 look even more foolish. And second, it was a Progressive Conservative government, the one led by Mike Harris, that sold off the highway for what we can now see amounted to a handful of beans.
But never mind. Ford wasn’t part of that government and it’s a long time ago. The essential point is that even a PC premier can now see the folly of selling a valuable public asset for far below its long-term worth.