By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak says Hamilton and Niagara would reap the economic benefits of a super-highway across the southern portion of the region, eventually connecting to one of the 400 series of highways.
“This would be a game changer in Hamilton and Niagara,” said Hudak, during a news conference in Hamilton March 6. “Not only the creation of the road, but opening up opportunities for new businesses to form.”
Hudak said constructing the road would provide immediate dividends in jobs for the Hamilton and Niagara area.
The highway would also provide a vital link to the United States economy, allowing the smooth transportation for trucks through southernOntario, and into the Greater Toronto area.
“We can’t lose sight of the bread and butter issues,” he said. “We have to make sure we have the highway infrastructure.”
He remains committed that a highway from Fort Erie, linking up to Highway 6 near the Hamilton International Airport, then through Flamborough and Halton is a necessity for the area’s economic development’s future.
“We need a mid-peninsula corridor,” he said. “The first step you go toFort Erie to Highway 6 to the airport.”
Once that roadway is completed, Hudak says the next step would be to “consult” with the Flamborough and Halton region residents, and conduct various environmental studies to find the proper route for the roadway through the area. He said the road could meet up with Highway 401, the 403 or the 407.
The Niagara to GTA preferred options for the area’s transportation links, released earlier this month, recommended widening the Queen Elizabeth Way from Hamilton to Niagara for high occupancy vehicles. Ministry officials said that will allow the area to accommodate higher traffic volumes for 2031 and beyond. Growth projections by the province suggest there will be nearly three million more people using the area’s highways.
In addition, the recommendations also include widening Highway 403 to add HOV lanes to alleviate congestion problems at theLincoln Alexander Parkwayand Highway 403 interchange.
John Slobodzian, provincial planning officer for theNiagarato GTA project, said a proposed mid-Pen project isn’t an option the province is considering. And a proposed roadway from Highway 403 through Ancaster, Flamborough and Halton Region is also not being recommended by the current study.
“It will not be a recommendation for this study,” he said. “Other highway alternatives were considered. We need to scope (any future) study out. We want to talk to our partners Hamilton and Halton.”
If another party, which had different ideas about a new highway, did form the next government, he said Ministry planning officials would revisit the project.
“I guess we will seek direction from the government,” he said.
There has been vocal opposition from Hamilton,Burlington, and Halton Region councils, and from local residents against a roadway being built through farmland.
Hamilton politicians had passed a motion requesting theNiagarato GTA officials to remove the city from the study area.