TORONTO, June 23, 2016 /CNW/ - Queen's Park's plan to create high-occupancy toll lanes or HOT lanes is "the wrong move for Ontarians," the President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says.
"The Ontario Government is merely selling access to Ontario's highways to those who can afford it," Warren (Smokey) Thomas said today. "These are our highways. We own them. Being able to get somewhere safely and on time is a fundamental right of citizenship, not a game of chance where only those who can afford to pay get to play."
Thomas said the proposed program will do very little to ease traffic congestion, given that only 1,000 "lucky winners" will have access to the HOT lanes.
"More people are disqualified from this program than the government cares to recognize, including those who cannot afford it and anyone from out-of-province," said Thomas. "Most people will still suffer the traffic congestion."
The pilot project will be a financial nightmare, Thomas predicted, and not revenue neutral as claimed, given that the government plans to spend public money on "innovative new technologies" to monitor compliance and traffic flow.
"This government is addicted to contracting out public services and selling off public assets," said Thomas. "Meanwhile they are cutting vital services – like health care and education – across the province every day."
Thomas said this latest announcement is part of a trend by the Liberal government at Queen's Park to outsource, privatize, and consult with an elite few about public policy.
"The government has repeatedly dangled out our public assets to preferred bidders in the private sector," said Thomas. "They're spending billions on overpriced private projects that benefit corporate lawyers, bankers, and construction bosses. And they're giving access to services to only those who can afford it," said Thomas.
"It's time for Ontarians to tell this government that our assets are not up for auction. We own them. Let's come together and put a stop to what this really is – a Going Going Gon-tario."
SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
For further information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas 613-329-1931