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Highway 407: Public to private transition

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  1. Introduction
  2. The privatization of public enterprise and operations
  3. Construction of the 407 ETR
  4. Privatization of infrastructure projects
  5. Borins and Mylvaganam's view
  6. Canada's ability to balance public and private means of urban mobility
  7. The study of urban gentrification
  8. Transportation alternatives to the 407 ETR
  9. Conclusion
  10. Works cited

Alterations to travel flow resulting from urban decentralization is the effect of the increasing size of the city and its level of urbanization, and it reduces traffic volumes between origins and the central destination thereby raising volumes to other destinations. This lowers radial corridor volumes. These changes make serving transport demand with transit systems more costly because transit costs are higher, and transit service levels are lower at lower levels of corridor passenger flows. The increasing costs and decreasing service levels of transit that accompany decentralization lead more travelers in middle- and high-income countries to use private autos, which further lowers transit passenger volume and further degrades transit performance [Ingram 1998, 1024]. Transportation systems prove to be enormously expensive operations, incurring high construction and purchasing costs to control the necessary real estate. If transport is a determinant of land-use development, what impact will the construction of a large transit system have on an existing metropolitan area?

The privatization of public enterprise and operations has been an increasingly popular phenomenon in the neo-liberal age of modern cities. It is prevalent that many political duties are handed over to the private sector to ensure efficiency and sometimes to resurrect its productivity in the ultimate goal: the satisfaction of the public.

[...] For a price of $ 3.1 billion, the Conservative government of Ontario under Premier Mike Harris leased the highway to a private international consortium, known collectively as 407 International Inc. [Smith January]. The deal included an unprecedented 99-year lease agreement; unlimited control of the highway and its tolls; and a restrictive or competition? clause preventing future governments from constructing any nearby freeways which might potentially compete with the 407. The transition of controlling ownership from the Province of Ontario to a private international corporation results in a political conflict applicable to the study of urban geography and infrastructure; that is, the political aspect of space, and its control by a corporate rather than electorally represented entity. [...]


[...] tragedy of the commons,? Science (1968): 1243-8. Ingram, G. K. ?Patterns of Metropolitan Development: What Have We Learned?? Urban Studies (1998): 1019-1035. Ley, D. ?Alternative Explanations for Inner-City Gentrification: A Canadian Assessment,? Annals of the Association of American Geographers (1986): 5210535. National Highway Policy for Canada. The National Highway System: Conditions & Investment Needs [...]


[...] As such, the highway public- private dichotomy previously discussed in whether the public is properly entitled to the commons, or the commons is better represented by private trust is amalgamated into a larger binary opposition between central/decentral residents. To consider potential solutions to the problem of increasing infrastructure, including the financial and spatial burden it places on the community, it is necessary to re-visit the issue of urban gentrification. Considerable research has been devoted to the study of urban gentrification, and the reasons as to the demographic upsurge in residents living in the urban centre as opposed to its suburbs. [...]

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