In 1999, 407 International became the owner of the 407 ETR Concession Company Limited ("407 ETR") which is the operator and manager of the highway, which extends 108 kilometres east-west across the top of the Greater Toronto Area. The Company is owned by indirectly owned subsidiaries of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (total 50.01%), also known as CPP Investments; Cintra Global S.E., a wholly owned subsidiary of Ferrovial S. A. (43.23%); and AtkinsRéalis Canada Inc., formerly SNC-Lavalin Inc. (6.76%).
407 ETR continues to fulfill its mission of relieving traffic congestion from local highways and roads. Since opening and extending the highway to the east and west the roadway has served an ever increasing number of drivers with a fast, safe and reliable trip.
The need for a highway across the top of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was part of transportation planning as far back as the 1950s. As land was purchased for the highway, consideration of how best to build the roadway was studied by successive provincial governments and the necessary reviews and approvals were obtained.
In 1993, the Ontario government established Ontario Transportation Capital Corporation (OTCC) for the purpose of managing the design, construction, operation, maintenance and financing of the highway. Later that year, OTCC awarded the contract to oversee the construction and operation of the central portion of Highway 407 to Canadian Highways International Corporation.
In June 1997, the central portion of the highway was opened and tolling of the world’s first all-electronic, open-access toll highway began in October. At the time, the central portion of the highway was three lanes in each direction and spanned only 69 kilometres, from Highway 403 in Mississauga to Markham Road in Markham.
In 1998, the Ontario government announced its decision to put out an international public tender for the lease of a concession to operate and expand the highway. At the conclusion of the tender and open bidding process, the concession to operate the highway was awarded to 407 ETR.
The tender process generated $3.107 billion for the government to direct to other public service priorities.
The lease guaranteed both the extension of the highway in the east and the west, and the addition of new lanes to provide expansion of the highway as traffic volume grew.
As the concessionaire for the highway, 407 ETR is responsible for all maintenance, construction and customer service and also pays the full cost of police enforcement along the highway. The highway lease requires that 407 ETR attract and maintain certain levels of traffic. If certain traffic thresholds are not met, a congestion payment to the Province may be required.
At the end of the lease agreement, the highway and toll systems etc. will be transferred to the Province of Ontario.
By the summer of 2001, 407 ETR had extended the highway 24 kilometres to the west and 15 kilometres to the east, on budget and ahead of schedule.
407 ETR now spans 108 kilometres across the top of the GTA and additional lanes have been added in several areas to meet the needs of motorists.
407 ETR continues to be an example of a successful Public-Private Partnership (PPP) where important infrastructure has been built, expanded and maintained by the private sector to ensure the provision of a critical service to the public. The benefits of PPPs in bringing expertise, efficiency, innovation and financial capital to design, build or operate critical infrastructure projects are now well established in Canada.