Business leaders applaud Ford’s Whitby announcement to remove tolls from Hwys 412 and 418

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Published February 18, 2022 at 5:28 pm

The message from Premier Ford was unambiguous: “April 5th, our government is permanently removing the tolls on highways 412 and 418.  They’re gone.  They’re done.”

And the response from the Durham Business Alliance, a working advocacy group composed of all chambers of commerce and boards of trade in the region that has been advocating the removal of the tolls for years, was equally clear: “This is a welcome announcement.”

That message was from Sheila Hall, the Executive Director of the Clarington Board of Trade, but all chamber bosses were on the same page. “This is a tremendous announcement for the business community,” said Natalie Prychitko, the CEO of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce. Mary Slavik, Interim Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade Executive Director said the message shows “great support for the ongoing growth and expansion of business in Durham Region”.

As of April 5, tolls on Hwys 412 and 418, which connect Highway 407 to Highway 401 from Whitby and Clarington, respectively, will be removed. The decision by the Ford government, while clearly motivated by the upcoming provincial election, comes after advocacy by DBA members, local governments and concerned citizens over the past five years.

The two routes are the only tolled north-south highways in Ontario. The 412 opened in 2017 and the 418 in 2019. Both cost drivers up to 48 cents per kilometre.

The Premier was in Whitby today on the side of the 412 highway to make the announcement. He was joined by Whitby MPP Lorne Coe, Finance Minister and Pickering-Uxbridge MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy and Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney.

The decision to convert the Region’s highest capacity north/south express routes to a toll-free highway promises to be an enabling one for the Region’s business community, says Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce Jason King, who even waxed a bit poetic.

“Time is our main resource that is absolutely non-renewable,” he said. “So many members of our business community will benefit immensely from the opportunity to add this element of efficiency to their daily operations.”

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