WOODBRIDGE, Ont. - Drivers in the Toronto area will have a new route reaching east of the city, but it's expected to be more than three years before the new toll road is built.
Work will begin this fall on the long-promised extension of Highway 407 East, a 22-kilometre stretch from Brock Road in Pickering to Harmony Road in Oshawa, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Thursday.
The extension will be owned by the province, but drivers will still have to pay to use the route that runs north of the city, he said.
"We'll set the tolls, we'll set the service standards and we'll collect those revenues to benefit Ontarians themselves," McGuinty said during a visit to the 407 ETR maintenance yard.
"We'll consult with Ontarians. I can assure you that they will not be higher than the 407 ETR tolls. We hope that they'll be lower, but I'm not making a commitment in that regard at this point in time. But we want to ensure that they are reasonable."
The current rates for using the existing 407 range from 19 cents per kilometre during evenings and weekends to 25 cents during prime hours.
The project will create 900 direct construction jobs and thousands of spinoff jobs, McGuinty said.
Construction is expected to be finished by the end of 2015. The second phase of the project, extending the 407 further east to Highway 35/115, should be completed by 2020.
The contract, which is valued at $1.6 billion, has been awarded to SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC) and Cintra Infraestructuras SA.
The consortium will receive annual payments from the province over 30 years to cover the costs of designing, building and maintaining the road, the government said.
The two companies are part owners of 407 International Inc., which operates the existing 108-kilometre toll road under a 99-year lease. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board owns a 40 per cent stake in the company.
The previous Conservative government decided in 1998 to privatize the 407 in a $3.1-billion deal.
Berlin, Germany -- IBM Commuter Pain Rating: 24
Berlin's downtown infrastructure must be relatively efficient. Among the cities IBM analyzed in which over three-quarters of commuters tended to drive on downtown streets, Berlin was the only city that did not rank in the top 5 most painful commutes.
Los Angeles, California -- IBM Commuter Pain Rating: 25
Los Angeles had the worst rating of the three U.S. cities included in the IBM study, and has had the worst rating among American cities in IBM's last two surveys. Of the Los Angeles commuters surveyed, 43 percent said they believed traffic had gotten worse in the last three years, 47 percent said LA traffic had negatively affected their health and 15 percent said that traffic had negatively affected their performance at work or school.
Amsterdam, Netherlands -- IBM Commuter Pain Rating: 25
Amsterdam may not be the most auto-friendly, but it is the most bicycle-friendly city in the world, with 40% of all traffic movements by bike, <a href="http://www.virgin-vacations.com/11-most-bike-friendly-cities.aspx" target="_hplink">according to Virgin-vacations.com</a>.
Toronto, Canada -- IBM Commuter Pain Rating: 32
Of the 20 cities IBM surveyed, Toronto tied Moscow for 2nd place for cities with the highest percentage of people who say traffic has worsened in the past three years.
London, England -- IBM Commuter Pain Rating: 36
IBM, the company that produced this commuter survey, <a href="http://www.techeye.net/business/ibm-congratulates-itself-over-london-transport" target="_hplink">won a contract from Capita</a>, a UK outsourcing company, to take over running London's Auto Pay System. Hopefully, it will help the city's traffic.
Paris, France -- IBM Commuter Pain Rating: 36
Only 32 percent of commuters use cars to get to work in Paris, compared to 90 percent in New York and Los Angeles.
Madrid, Spain -- IBM Commuter Pain Rating: 48
In Madrid, 66 percent of respondents thought that gas prices were too high. The city had one of the highest rate of people who reported being displeased with the price of fuel.
Buenos Aires, Argentina -- IBM Commuter Pain Rating: 50
Forty-three percent of Buenos Aires respondents reported having to cancel a work-related driving trip due to traffic. Of all the cities IBM analyzed, Buenos Aires had the highest percentage of people who reported this type of cancellation.
Milan, Italy -- IBM Commuter Pain Rating: 52
In Milan, only 37 percent of commuters drive to work compared to 90 percent in New York and Los Angeles.
Sao Paulo, Brazil -- IBM Commuter Pain Rating: 75
As a result of Sao Paulo's "crippling traffic problem," residents of the city can do "amazing things in their cars,"<a href="http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1733872,00.html" target="_hplink"> writes <em>Time</em> magazine</a>. "They shave. They apply their makeup. They chat up the girl or guy in the neighboring car and make dates. They read. They learn foreign languages. They watch DVDs."
New Delhi, India -- IBM Commuter Pain Rating: 81
Forty percent of commuters in New Delhi would choose to work more if their commute time could be significantly reduced. Of all the cities IBM analyzed, New Delhi has the highest percentage who reported this.
Moscow, Russia -- IBM Commuter Pain Rating: 84
Globally, the average traffic delay is 1 hour. In Moscow, which has the highest average traffic delay, it is 2 hours, with more than 40 percent of respondents reporting they had been stuck in traffic for over 3 hours.
Johannesburg, South Africa -- IBM Commuter Pain Rating: 97
Eighty percent of respondents in Johannesburg say the traffic situation has worsened, the highest percentage of commuters with this feeling of all the cities IBM analyzed. Fans of the World Cup recently <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64R3JP20100528" target="_hplink">missed the start of the tournament</a> due to a massive traffic jam.
Mexico City, Mexico -- IBM Commuter Pain Rating: 99
Sixty-two percent of respondents in Mexico City say the traffic situation has worsened, and 56 percent say their commute has increase their level of stress. Twenty-two percent of commuters in Mexico City take more than an hour a day for a typical one-way trip to work. Only two percent of commuters in New York or Madrid take that long.
Beijing, China -- IBM Commuter Pain Rating: 99
"Congestion is a prominent problem in Beijing," <a href="http://www.china.org.cn/english/2002/Mar/28866.htm" target="_hplink">says a member of China's Ministry of Communication</a>. As incomes rise and the price of automobiles fall, the number of cars is increasing by 10 percent annually while the government is extending roads by only 2 percent.