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.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Thieves hit Mission store twice in six days

$50,000 worth of merchandise taken from Prospect Equipment, theft captured on security video

PHOTOS: Eagles return to the Fraser Valley

The 2019 Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival provided a chance to see eagles following spawning salmon

Body found after SUV found fully engulfed in flames in Abbotsford field

Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has been called in

Advocate for the homeless receives UFV’s Young Distinguished Alumni Award

Jesse Wegenast of Chilliwack recognized for extensive community work in Abbotsford

PHOTOS: West Coast Christmas Show and Artisan Market at Tradex

Over the past 11 years the show has been attended by over 175,000 visitors

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

Nineteen boats carrying invasive mussels stopped at B.C. borders

Waters of Columbia-Shuswap still test mussel-free

Woman ‘horrified’ after being told to trek 200 kilometres home from Kamloops hospital

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

Midget no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Duncan man gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty trial

Joe also gets lifetime ban on owning animals

B.C. pushes for greater industry ‘transparency’ in gasoline pricing

Legislation responds to fuel price gap of up to 13 cents

B.C. woman ordered to return dog to ex-boyfriend for $2,000

After the two broke up, documents state, they agree to share custody of the dog, named Harlen

Most Read