Letter writers argue residents south of the Fraser are paying too much – in taxes and in tolls – for the new Port Mann Bridge.

Bridge over troubled taxpayers

Ads extolling the benefits of the new Port Mann Bridge aren't convincing these letter writers.

I presume the ad(s) for the new Port Mann Bridge are geared to those living south of the Fraser.

They extoll the benefits of saving up to an hour’s travel time per day. They extoll the relief from congestion drivers will realize.

What they won’t say is how families will make up the $1,400-$1,500 lost each year to tolls. They won’t say why South Fraser residents are being forced to foot the bill not only for the bridge, but the Highway 1 Improvement Project that runs into Vancouver. They won’t explain why, for decades, Surrey/Langley residents supported infrastructure north and east but now must pay for their own.

They won’t tell you that the Liberals and TransLink are deliberately keeping us in our cars so we will pay for it. They won’t be forthcoming in their rationale for not spreading the pain, as has been the practice until now.

And they certainly won’t explain why Vancouver has become an “untouchable.”

Then there’s the completely laughable notion that the Pattullo Bridge is a viable, free alternative. Well, I suppose it is… if you work from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.

It’s time for mayors and citizens south of the Fraser to have a serious conversation. Do we want to keep sending $160 million a year (Surrey’s portion) to TransLink for next to nothing in return, or do we want to use that money to start building our own infrastructure? Are we getting good value for our tax dollars?

Janice Crawford, Surrey

 

Not bridging logic

I don’t have a problem with the government using advertising to persuade people to use the new Port Mann Bridge, but they haven’t followed their own reasoning to its logical conclusion.

They say the new bridge will save an hour each day for commuters who use it during peak periods. I’m sure that’s true. But what about those of us who are unemployed, retired, or have part-time jobs and can therefore wait to make our trips outside of rush hours? Why should we pay the same toll when we won’t be saving anything like an hour per day?

The answer is to adjust the tolls according to time of day: a premium price during peak periods, a reduced price outside peak periods, and completely free during the slack hours late at night. This seems fairer, and could do as much to relieve rush hour congestion as adding an extra lane.

Alan T. Chattaway, Surrey

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