Tolling reform proponents fear the Alex Fraser Bridge will be unusable if it ends up the last free crossing of the Fraser River in Metro Vancouver.

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’s Amazing Tutors donates hundreds of ‘Sunshine Food Bags’ to those less fortunate

For three years, volunteers and students have been putting together donation packages

Junior Team Canada brings home gold to the Lower Mainland, again

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

Surrey-Langley curlers in the running again for gold

Junior men’s team out of Langley hopes to defend its world title Sunday, going up against Switzerland

Surrey Central SkyTrain Station upgrades completed

It’s the seventh station along Expo Line to see upgrades completed. Construction began in March 2017

Semiahmoo Trail students surpass Coldest Night fundraising goal

Rocco Forte and his team are third-year participants in Saturday’s Coldest Night of the Year walk

VIDEO: Iconic ‘snow cone’ takes shape at B.C. park near Clearwater

Snow cone forming at Wells Gray Provincial Park one that would make Disney’s Queen Elsa proud

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

People gather for funeral of seven children killed in fast-moving Halifax fire

Traditional portion of the service will be followed by words from community members

B.C. weavers to help Alaska Native project honouring survivors of violence

Dozens of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers from all over North America will be weaving 5-inch-by-5-inch squares

B.C. skip Sarah Wark and team eliminated at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Nontheless pretty impressive stuff from the 24th-ranked team in the country

Twilight Drive-In announces open season start date

Opening weekend will showcase a double feature with Aquaman at 7:15 p.m. and Glass at 9:50 p.m.

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

Most Read