The Golden Ears Bridge

More bridge tolls urged by Business Council of B.C.

Reform of B.C. tolling policy will become 'urgent' in Metro Vancouver, business council white paper says

The tolls that are now charged on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges should be extended to other Lower Mainland crossings so motorists are treated more fairly across the region.

That’s one of the recommendations from the Business Council of B.C. in a white paper it has released on the need to build much more infrastructure in the province and seek new ways of financing it.

It warns TransLink’s plan to toll a rebuilt Pattullo Bridge in the years ahead may force reform of the current practice of only tolling new or replacement crossings as they are built.

“The imposition of a third toll for a Fraser River crossing may be problematic and would exacerbate concerns over intra‐regional equity with respect to the user‐pay principle for transportation services,” the report says.

“This makes it more urgent to look to longer‐term and more equitable solutions to tolling and road‐use fees as a tool to finance transit and manage road volumes across the region.”

Transportation Minister Todd Stone pledged a review of the province’s tolling policy a year ago but has yet to act.

The province is also designing a new bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel. Stone hasn’t yet spelled out how he would seek public consent to toll that crossing.

Metro Vancouver mayors want to eventually adopt road pricing, which could involve per kilometre fees on major routes rather than just tolls at bridges.

They argue such a system could not only help fund TransLink but allow time-of-day pricing to encourage some drivers to travel at off-peak times and make the entire road system more efficient.

The Business Council of B.C. paper also endorses greater use of “peak-pricing models” – including municipal water metering – but it suggests interim bridge tolling reform may be wiser than pursuit of full road pricing.

“While road pricing may be the most comprehensive approach to demand management, starting with an expanded tolling network (based on low toll charges) across the region may be more manageable and politically achievable,” said the report, which is titled Building B.C. for the 21st Century.

It says the province should reconsider its policy that bans new tolls when a free alternative is unavailable.

Both the public transit and road systems are heavily congested in Metro and need more upgrades, the paper says, noting an expected Lower Mainland population increase of 800,000 by 2031.

It says the most pressing expansion needs are in Surrey and Langley, while also noting intense transit pressure on Vancouver’s Broadway corridor.

Although billions of dollars have gone into port-related gateway infrastructure in recent years, more is needed on that front as well, the report said, adding much funding should come from the federal government, which has more taxation capability than the province.

Gateway priorities include twinning the old railway bridges over the Fraser River at New Westminster and at the Second Narrows.

The report also projects steady growth in container handling will put more pressure on truck routes.

Besides innovative finance options, the report urges the province to develop a long-term infrastructure development strategy so a steady pipeline of projects are being built, increasing investor confidence.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Surrey man facing charges related to child pornography

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Surrey RCMP ask for public’s help to find missing 18-year-old

Timothy Johnson was last seen in the 10000-block of 155th Street: police

Easter Seals drop zone returning to Surrey as ‘great no-contact event’

Health and safety a ‘top priority’ for annual event

Surrey School’s entrepreneurship program expands

‘YELL’ now offered at Queen Elizabeth, Semiahmoo

Proposed White Rock waterfront zoning questioned by residents

Group says approval will create a precedent of increased height on West Beach

Missing Fraser Valley woman has not been in contact with family for several months

The RCMP are asking for the public’s help in locating 35-year-old Chantelle Chenier of Chilliwack

Rescuers halt Coquihalla River search due to darkness, after reports of person in river

No information to indicate a child is involved, RCMP state, after this information surfaced on social media

Man who rammed gate near Trudeau residence with truck faces multiple charges

The man, who police have not yet officially identified, will be charged with multiple offences

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

Kelowna RCMP commander calls for more nurses during wellness checks after complaint

Southeast District Commander wants to increase Police and Crisis Team program

‘Tarantula moth’ spotted in broad daylight on Vancouver Island

Polyphemus moths are one of the largest insects in B.C.

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

Most Read