Both parties have accepted the various court and arbitration decisions as final and binding
The concession company will include measures to improve the service, including bringing forward the expansion envisaged for the highway and new benefits to users
407 ETR (managed by Cintra in Toronto) and the Ontario Government have reached an amicable settlement regarding all legal disputes between the parties. The settlement is due to both parties’ decision to create a stable collaboration framework that reinforces long-term relations (the 407 ETR concession period is 99 years) and provides advantages to the highway users.
The main points of the agreement are as follows:
- Both parties have withdrawn all existing disputes and claims and accepted the various court and arbitration decisions as final and binding. In particular, the Ontario Government has accepted the decisions regarding the Change Request, Base Year (2002) and Plate Denial.
- The road operator undertakes to implement the following measures to improve the service it provides to users:
- 407 ETR’s obligation under the concession agreement to expand the road by one lane each way has been brought forward; now this will be executed in the next two years, adding 50 km of lane each way (total: 100 km) at an investment of approximately 100 million CAD.Approximately 65% of the agreed expansion is already under construction or scheduled to open in 2006 and 2007. The other one-third of the expansion will be brought forward by 4-5 years, without making any investments in excess of those established by the concession contract.Bringing forward the addition of new lanes will increase the road’s capacity by 33% on the central sections, where traffic is heaviest.
- Implementation of a four-year programme of discounts for light vehicles under which frequent users qualify for discounts of up to 15% (total value: 40 million CAD over four years).This frequent user programme will commence between 31 December 2006 and 31 March 2007 and will benefit around 100,000 users, who will be able to obtain toll discounts, mainly during off-peak hours, discounts on fuel or air miles, thus increasing user satisfaction while encouraging frequent use of the road.
- Implementation of a discount programme for heavy vehicles to encourage the use and appropriate maintenance of transponders and encourage heavy vehicles to use the road at off-peak hours.Under this programme, heavy vehicles that use the road and use transponders can obtain discounts, depending on the frequency, of up to 50% on night and weekend tolls and up to 25% on the off-peak tolls.The duration of the programme will depend on the scope of the legal obligation for all heavy vehicles to use transponders. The programme, which will commence in July 2006, will run initially for six months and may be renewed for further six-month periods, up to a total of two years, if the total percentage of heavy vehicles using the road without transponders is gradually reduced.
- Appointment, for at least three years, of an ombudsman, without executive powers, to defend users’ interests.There have been other minor agreements which will improve customer service for users and reduce the operating costs of the road.