Surrey Board of Trade urges tolling reform

Business group supports plan for new Massey Bridge, but wants fair, consistent bridge tolls as well

The replacement of the Massey Tunnel with a new toll bridge must come with reforms to make tolling consistent and fair across the region, according to the Surrey Board of Trade.

The business group has come out in support of the proposed 10-lane bridge but is also strongly urging the province to begin the dialogue on road pricing reforms so drivers don’t jam traffic by trying to use a dwindling number of untolled bridges.

“Coordinated regional planning for infrastructure and tolling policy is desperately needed to ensure that no area is unduly penalized by unequal tolling practices,” CEO Anita Huberman said.

“What we’re telling the province is to start the dialogue immediately. We can’t wait.”

Various flavours of road pricing have already been suggested, from smaller tolls on all existing bridges to per kilometre road use fees, perhaps varying by time of day and degree of congestion.

Huberman said she hopes there is political will provincially to explore what change is needed and make it happen.

She said the livability of the Metro Vancouver region is at stake as the population grows, as well as the ability to attract new business.

“If our costs on this side of the bridge or the river continue to increase, it’s going to compromise our economy,” Huberman said.

A Surrey Board of Trade survey with the South Surrey/White Rock Chamber of Commerce last month found 60 per cent of respondents supported adding tolls to existing untolled bridges to help finance replacements and support ongoing maintenance. It found 34.5 per cent opposed.

The province’s current tolling policy says tolls can only be added to new infrastructure and only when a reasonable untolled alternative exists.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone has said that policy will likely have to change if both the new Massey Bridge and the replacement Pattullo Bridge are tolled, as proposed by the province and TransLink respectively, to keep too much traffic from piling up at the free Alex Fraser Bridge.

Stone has yet to deliver a previously promised tolling policy review, but he has encouraged discussion about toll reforms as part of the Massey replacement consultations.

Two open houses were conducted last week and comments on the Massey Bridge proposal are being accepted until Feb. 15.

The Surrey Board of Trade will lead a forum on the road pricing on April 8.

Just Posted

Surrey councillor defends SOGI 123 stance after resigning from AutismBC

Laurie Guerra stands by her opposition to SOGI 123 resource as backlash over meeting comes to a head

PHOTOS: Hockey history in Surrey as Team India comes to play

Squad played its very first game in Canada on Tuesday against Surrey Falcons

Proposed coal project for Fraser Surrey Docks back in court

It could be months before the federal appeal court renders a decision

Minor injuries for firefighter struck outside South Surrey fire hall

Minor injuries for firefighter struck outside South Surrey fire hall

Surrey to hear news on Olympic softball qualifier bid next week

Decision, originally expected in September, was delayed by World Baseball Softball Confederation

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Kuhnhackl scores 2 odd goals as Isles dump Canucks 5-2

Vancouver drops second game in two nights

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

B.C.-based pot producer Tilray reports revenue surge, net loss

Company remains excited about ‘robust’ cannabis industry

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Feds pledge money for young scientists, but funding for in-house research slips

Canada’s spending on science is up almost 10 per cent since the Liberals took office, but spending on in-house research is actually down

Stink at B.C. school prompts complaints of headaches, nausea

Smell at Abbotsford school comes from unauthorized composting operation

Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mom says

A Cape Breton teen who has cerebral palsy was told to lie in a stream as other kids walked over him

Vancouver man must pay $22,000 after breaking strata rules

Peter Gordon took his fight over his rented condo to the civil resolution tribunal, but lost

Most Read