by Michael Jiggins, February 26, 2014
Auditor General to Review Ministry of Transportation Program
(QUEEN’S PARK) – Ontario ’s Auditor General will investigate why motorists have encountered such dangerous conditions on provincial highways this winter after a motion from Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark was passed unanimously at a legislative committee meeting here this morning.
“I’m pleased the committee has asked the Auditor General to investigate the reasons motorists in Leeds-Grenville and in every corner of Ontario have had to take their lives into their hands when they get behind the wheel and travel on a provincial highway this winter,” said Clark after his motion was passed by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
“Constituents are writing to me and calling my office after almost every snowfall to say they’ve never seen Ontario ’s highways in such terrible shape,” said Clark .
“I’ve brought their concerns to the attention of MTO officials, but we haven’t seen any improvement. I’m confident the Auditor General is now going to get to the bottom of what’s behind these poor road conditions and the numerous collisions and highway closures we’ve seen this winter.”
Clark’s motion calls on the Auditor General to review MTO’s Winter Maintenance Program and the contracts negotiated by the ministry with contractors across the province. The report is to be completed before the end of this year.
Among the issues to be investigated are:
The number of winter maintenance vehicles in use
Circuit times for operators
The proper and efficient use of chemical melters and salt by contractors
Hours of operation
The scope of the review is to include one year prior to when the Winter Maintenance Program was privatized.
“Ensuring our roads are as safe as possible during the winter driving season is one of the fundamental responsibilities of the Ministry of Transportation,” stressed Clark . “There’s no question the minister has failed Ontarians in that regard this winter. I welcome the Auditor General’s probe and look forward to a report that will help prevent this from ever happening again.”
Locally, Clark wrote to MTO officials in support of a request by United Counties of Leeds and Grenville council for an urgent meeting to discuss poor driving conditions on Highways 401, 416 and 15. Although the letter was sent more than a month ago, a date for that meeting has not been set.