You may have heard that gas prices are going up. International pressures mean that the cost of filling up your car is more expensive than usual, so wouldn’t it be nice if the government gave you a break while doing something positive for the environment at the same time? Guelph MPP and Green Party leader Mike Schreiner has an idea about that, meanwhile, the Ontario government wants you to go faster (in select locations).
“In an effort to address the intersecting affordability and climate crises impacting this province, the Ontario Greens are proposing a 50 per cent discount on all public transit fares, including GO Transit and Ontario Northland services, for the next three months,” Schreiner wrote in an open letter to Premier Doug Ford. “Reallocating a small portion of the money earmarked for expensive highways could easily cover this immediate relief program.”
In his letter, Schreiner said that subsidizing gas prices or cutting the provincial gas tax is not a sustainable answer to high gas prices, and at the same time his proposed far cut would also promote more transit use following the pandemic slump in ridership. Schreiner also explained that a temporary cut in transit fares will help the bottom line of municipalities by generating more transit revenue, and it will help the bottom line of many transit users who don’t usually have a lot of budgetary wiggle room.
“When you live on minimum wage, that can be a small fortune. It can literally mean the difference between health and heartbreak, between getting to work or not,” Schreiner added. “Increasing transit ridership will also help municipalities deal with the negative budget implications of declining transit ridership.”
“I hope you consider our request and see it as a sensible way to make life more affordable for the people who work hard to make our economic engine run every day – they are no less important than the leather interior or the power sunroof. We are all part of the same province,” he said closing out the letter.
You can read Schreiner’s open letter in its entirety here.
As Schreiner was thinking about transit, the Government of Ontario was announcing changes to the speed limit on some portions of the provincial highway system.
Following a speed limit pilot program and consultations with local and regional governments, Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney announced Tuesday that the speed limit will officially be changed to 110 kilometres per hour starting on April 22 on the following stretches of provincial highways:
- Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) from Hamilton to St. Catharines (32 km)
- Highway 402 from London to Sarnia (90 km)
- Highway 417 from Ottawa to the Ontario/Quebec Border (102 km)
- Highway 401 from Windsor to Tilbury (approximately 40 km)
- Highway 404 from Newmarket to Woodbine (approximately 16 km)
- Highway 417 from Kanata to Arnprior (approximately 37 km)
“Our government continues to find new ways to make life easier and more convenient for families and businesses that depend on highways to get where they need to go,” Mulroney said. “With road safety top of mind, these sections have been carefully selected based on their ability to accommodate higher speed limits.”
Speed limits on Highway 400 from MacTier to Nobel and Highway 11 from Emsdale to South River in northern Ontario will also be increased to 110 kilometres per hour on a trial basis.