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Ontario to announce plan for HOT HOV lanes

High-occupancy toll will be available on existing HOVs and expanded highways


TORONTO — The Ontario Liberal government will announce the details of its plan to introduce high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on Dec. 7.

The so-called HOT lanes would allow motorists without passengers to pay to use High-Occupancy-Vehicle (HOV) lanes, which were designed to encourage carpooling.

The lanes were originally proposed as a way to raise money for infrastructure in Dalton McGuinty’s 2013 budget.

The Liberals announced last month that they planned to create HOT lanes only where there are existing HOV lanes, which are free for any driver with at least one passenger.

Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca added that HOV and HOT lanes could also be created on any new or expanded highways, like the stretch of Highway 401 near Cambridge, Ont., that the government is expanding.

His November announcement coincided with a report by Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, a coalition of economists, which endorsed the idea of toll roads and “congestion fees” to help cities and provinces deal with traffic problems.

But when Del Duca made the announcement, he received criticism from both Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats, who said Ontarians don’t want their roads taxed.
NDP leader Andrea Horwath went as far as to brand the roads with the name of a high-end carmaker.

“The Lexus lanes are not something I think is the right way to go,” she said in November.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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