BUSINESS

Ontario's 'HOT Lanes' Will Mean Lone Drivers Can Pay To Use HOV Lanes

11/02/2015 04:27 EST | Updated 11/02/2016 05:12 EDT
TORONTO — Ontario motorists will know by the end of the year exactly where the Liberal government intends to establish high-occupancy toll lanes.

The government wants the revenue from HOT lanes, which allow motorists without any passengers to pay to use high-occupancy-vehicle lanes that are free with at least two people in a vehicle.

Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca says he will outline where toll lanes will be created and what the charges will be in December.

Del Duca says any new highway projects, including the expansion of the 401 near Cambridge, will include new HOV and HOT lanes.

He wants to use lessons learned from the temporary HOV lanes set up on Toronto-area highways last summer for the Pan Am Games to develop the plan.

But Del Duca downplayed police reports showing accidents on highways with the HOV lanes during the Games jumped 73 per cent compared with the same months in the previous four years.

"HOV lanes don't cause accidents," he said. Del Duca blamed the spike in collisions on "motorists who aren't paying attention to the conditions of the road."

The transportation minister said the province is willing to work with any municipality that wants to add tolls to existing roads under their jurisdiction, such as Toronto's Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway.

"I haven't had a municipality come to me and ask the question," said Del Duca. "My focus is the provincial highway network, and that's what I'm doing."