The planned construction of Highway 7 in Waterloo Region will start in 2015 as promised, and not in 2016 as the Ontario Progressive Conservatives now suggest, says Kitchener Centre MPP John Milloy.
Milloy, the government house leader, responded to claims by the Tories that they obtained an internal Liberal 11-page document that provides some clues to the the contents of the Liberal budget.
The PCs say they have documents outlining a series of funding announcements the Liberals plan to make leading up to the budget's release, which the Tories say was scheduled for May 1.
One of those announcements, detailed in the document entitled "pre-doc communications rollout," includes an April 17 event that references the 17.8-kilometre four-lane highway from Highway 85 to Highway 6 in Guelph.
The document lists the government representatives attending the event: Milloy, Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Premier Kathleen Wynne. The document says "construction is planned to start in 2016-2017 and be completed in 2020-2021." When the province first committed to building the highway in 2012, they vowed to begin construction in 2015.
The document also makes reference to "new investment" in the project that "provides an opportunity for a progress announcement."
Milloy said he hadn't seen the leaked documents. Nothing has changed since 2012, he said.
"When it comes to Highway 7, we've been very clear. We're moving ahead with Highway 7, we're purchasing land, engineering work is being done and we expect to have shovels in the ground by 2015," he said.
Kitchener-Conestoga PC MPP Michael Harris said he is skeptical of the Liberals' commitment.
"Seven years ago, the Liberals included plans to expand Highway 7 in their 2007 budget – just ahead of a provincial election," he said.
"Then only three years later, in 2010, the Liberals shelved this long-awaited project, claiming the province couldn’t afford it. So how can anyone seriously believe that Kathleen Wynne will follow through this time?"