Tree Planters Podcast, with Laura Bowman of Ecojustice

The Ontario government wants to build more highways. We talk with Laura about whether these are needed and appropriate in the midst of a climate emergency. (Hint, they aren’t and absolutely are not.)


On this episode of the Tree Planters Podcast we talk with Laura Bowman, of Ecojustice, about the province’s plans to build new highways in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

The proposed route for the Bradford Bypass, which cuts through the Greenbelt.

One concern is that this will be a boondoggle waste of taxpayer’s money, with an estimate price tag for just one of the highways running past the $6 billion dollar mark.

Compounding this cost is the fact that highways tend to reinforce a development pattern — sprawl — that is highly wasteful.

Building infrastructure for more cars siphons resources from projects that could make our communities more sustainable and cost effective.

Mass transit options for commuters helps create more efficient transportation options for commercial goods by reducing the number of cars on the roads, which frees up space for trucks and other delivery vehicles, enabling goods to move faster and with fewer emissions.

Preserving ecosystem services of the green spaces that will be paved over provides benefits, such as cleaner air and water, flood water protection, and habitat for wildlife, which provide a great deal of value year in and year out.

Furthermore, highways do not have a good track record of easing congestion, which is what the stated goal of these projects is. For one, the 413, the estimated time that a commute will be reduced is roughly 60 seconds. $6 billion is a heck of a price tag for this small return.

Show links:

Map of where the Bradford Bypass is proposed.

Map of where the 413 is proposed.

Archived report on feasibility of proposed highway corridor (outlining that it isn’t necessarily the best option).

Notice exempting the Bradford Bypass from an environmental assessment.


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