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Ontario to announce details for high-occupancy toll lanes this morning

The Ontario government will announce details this morning of its plans for high-occupancy toll lanes — and what it will cost drivers to use them.

Province willing to work with any municipality wanting to add toll to roads such as Gardiner, DVP

The so-called HOT lanes will allow motorists without passengers to pay to use High-Occupancy-Vehicle (HOV) lanes, which were designed to encourage carpooling. (CBC)

The Ontario government will announce details this morning of its plans for high-occupancy toll lanes — and what it will cost drivers to use them.

The announcement is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. ET  Monday. CBC.ca will live-stream the announcement. 

The so-called HOT lanes will allow motorists without passengers to pay to use High-Occupancy-Vehicle (HOV) lanes, which were designed to encourage carpooling.

The plan is to create HOT lanes only where there are existing HOV lanes, which are free for any driver with at least one passenger — but carpooling and toll lanes could also be created on any new or expanded highways.

"On the provincial highway network, we will not be taking out general purpose lanes for the HOTs," Transportation Minister Steve Del Duca said early this fall.

Opposition at Queen's Park

Del Duca has also said that the province would be willing to work with any municipality that wants to add tolls to existing roads under their jurisdiction, such as Toronto's Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway.

He has also said he wants to use the lessons learned from the temporary HOV lanes set up on Toronto-area highways last summer for the Pan Am Games to develop the plan for toll lanes.

The two opposition parties at Queen's Park have already gone on record denouncing the plan.

"We shouldn't be taxing existing roadways," said Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown.

"People have paid for those roads through their taxes, and that shouldn't be an option that the government looks at," he said.

The New Democrats, meanwhile, have linked the HOT lanes with the name of a high-end automaker, calling them 'Lexus lanes' — and something that only the wealthiest of motorists would be able to afford.

"The Lexus lanes are not something I think is the right way to go," NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said in the past. 

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