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Press Releases 2004

Immediate Release

February 1, 2004

 

IT'S OFFICIAL: 407 TOLLS RISE, GOVERNMENT CREDIBILITY DROPS LIKE A STONE

"A Negotiated Approach Would Have Produced Results," Opposition MPP insists.

 

 

(Richmond Hill) - Today, Oak Ridges MPP Frank Klees announced what the government isn't willing to admit itself: as of this morning, the McGuinty strategy to reduce 407 ETR tolls is officially a failure.   407 ETR tolls were set to rise by a cent per kilometre for peak hour light vehicle traffic as of this morning.  The increase comes despite empty government threats to take the company to court, and despite a government election promise to cut toll costs by hundreds of dollars for regular highway users.

 

Klees- who also is the Conservative party's transportation critic - remains baffled by Transport Minister Harinder Takhar's claim that the government is protected by the 407 ETR's concession contract. "I've had the same briefings as Mr. Takhar had," Klees said, "and the protection he's talking about simply does not exist."

 

With the failure of the government's strategy, Klees insists that highway users should call Takhar's office to ask for a more productive approach.   "Just months ago, our government sat down to negotiate tolls and customer service changes directly with 407 executives, and they were willing to listen," Klees said. "Instead, the Liberals seem to think it's more important to spin hard and talk tough - and risk taxpayer dollars on legal disputes that they can't win."

 

"Bad PR, weak legal threats and brinkmanship isn't going to help consumers get better rates and better service from the 407 ETR.   But it can ruin Ontario's reputation as a place where business and government can solve problems together," Klees argued.   "If the Liberals truly care about 407 consumers, then they'll wake up and realize that today's toll increase is a sign that says 'exit here.' It's time to behave like a government, put the lawyers away, and negotiate a better deal," Klees said.

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For more information, please call (416) 979-7872.

Mr. Klees will be available for comment from 2:00pm on Sunday.