A rendering of the George Massey Tunnel replacement

Surrey Board of Trade calls for regional tolling strategy

Unequal tolling practices could have commuters plugging up free options, affecting goods movement, SBoT argues

SURREY — The Surrey Board of trade is calling for a regional tolling strategy, citing concerns about the lack of free options leading to congestion and in turn affecting goods movement.

The group supports the George Massey Tunnel replacement – a $3.5 billion toll bridge announced last month – but argues a co-ordinated approach to tolling is needed.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone revealed in December that tolls for the new bridge would be “comparable” to those on the Port Mann. Once the Pattullo Bridge is also replaced and tolled, the Alex Fraser would be the only bridge free to cross for Surrey commuters.

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

“The movement of goods and services will be severely impacted when business and commuters are driven to use the only non-tolled options because the alternative is too expensive for small business bottom lines and average family budgets,” she added.

SBoT and South Surrey White Rock Chamber of Commerce will hold a Surrey Leadership Dialogue on April 8 at Eaglequest Golf Course to learn more about what their members think of such a strategy.

Current legislation requires a plebiscite for any new funding streams proposed for TransLink infrastructure projects but not for provincial projects such as the tunnel replacement.

amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com

-With files from Tom Zytaruk

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