City won't look at tolls on the Linc and Red Hill after all

Sam Merulla's idea of tolling out-of-town trucks on the highways isn't going to happen. But it was close.

If they're not allowed on the highways, some say, then where will the trucks go?

The city almost looked into tolling out-of-town trucks on the Red Hill Valley Parkway. But some councillors feared the worst. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

It was close, but the city of Hamilton isn't going to look at tolling out-of-town trucks on the Red Hill and Lincoln Alexander parkways after all.

City councillors debated the idea for about an hour. There was talk of what such a study would cost, whether tolls would push transport trucks onto city streets and even whether it would turn off industries from settling in Hamilton.

And in the end, city council voted 7-6 not to discuss it at all.

Sam Merulla pushed the issue. The Ward 4 councillor says out-of-town trucks — which are neither Hamilton-based nor delivering here — use the highway as a shortcut. They leave the QEW, take the Red Hill and Linc and get on the 403 on the other side and vice versa.

If the city set up a transponder system similar to Highway 407, Merulla said, it would raise revenue and deter drivers from taking shortcuts on the city-owned highway.

"We're here to move the yardsticks," Merulla said on Wednesday night. "We're here to actually do something."

Council recently debated looking at widening the highways from four to six lanes. That would cost millions, Merulla said. Looking into this measure, which could alleviate congestion, would only cost a few thousand.

But Doug Conley, a Ward 9 councillor for upper Stoney Creek, said it would just push truck traffic onto Centennial and other city streets. The Red Hill was built to alleviate traffic on Centennial, he said, and now the traffic is just as bad there as it was before.

"This worries me more than any other traffic thing we've talked about," he said.

Meanwhile, the notion of widening the highway is part of the city's transportation master plan, which is due in 2016.

Who voted in favour of a study on tolling:

Aidan Johnson (Ward 1), Jason Farr (2), Matthew Green (3), Sam Merulla (4), Tom Jackson (6), Mayor Fred Eisenberger

Who was opposed:

Terry Whitehead (8), Doug Conley (9), Maria Pearson (10), Brenda Johnson (11), Lloyd Ferguson (12), Robert Pasuta (14), Judi Partridge (15)


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