Opinion: Who's Doug Ford trying to please? - 2019-05-12
Doug Ford loves the three-word slogan. Following on For the People and Open for Business, he has made it his priority to Get Ontario Moving. No fan of nuance, Premier Ford paints a dire picture of the province's mobility "crisis": He describes Ontarians as paralyzed, highways clogged, subways packed and people left stranded. But thankfully, in his words, "relief is on the way."
Mr. Ford's Getting Ontario Moving Act, tabled in the Ontario legislature on May 2, is a many-splendoured thing. Its proposals range from uploading Toronto's new subway projects to the province to allowing for high-styled handlebars on motorcycles to improving traffic flow on our highways. To this end, Ontario's Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek has announced a two-year pilot project to test higher speed limits (110 kilometres an hour) on four stretches of Ontario's 400-series highways as an exploratory step toward raising limits province-wide.
It has come to Mr. Yurek's attention that Ontario's current highway speed limit of 100 km/hr resulted from an adjustment – down from 70 mph or 112 km/hr – made in the 1970s to conserve fuel during the OPEC energy crisis. That we are living through a climate crisis whose consequences will render the 1970s spike in fuel prices a mere footnote in the history books, doesn't register with the Ford government. Making his announcement at a carpool lot near London, Ont., Mr. Yurek dismissed the environmental implications of increased speed limits – a vehicle uses 20 per cent more fuel at 120 km/h than at 100 km/hr, according to Natural Resources Canada – as irrelevant in an age of fuel-efficient and electric cars.