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

Vancouver Giants blank Rockets

Langley-based G-men take over top spot in the west

Kodiaks begin best-of-seven series strong

The Kodiaks opened their quarter-final playoff series by defeating the Delta Ice Hawks on home ice.

Heritage proposal for Aldergrove fire hall at a ‘standstill’

The Alder Grove Heritage Society faces a delay in knowing the fate of the fire hall due to tenants slated to live in the building until 2020.

VIDEO: Langley hosting high-flying fun at annual gymnastics tournament

Action runs Friday through Sunday at the Langley Events Centre fieldhouse.

Langley Secondary students rehearse upcoming musical comedy

The Langley Secondary Musical Theatre Company presents Guys and Dolls on Feb. 22.

VIDEO: Langley hosting high-flying fun at annual gymnastics tournament

Action runs Friday through Sunday at the Langley Events Centre fieldhouse.

Vancouver crash leaves driver dead, 2 in hospital

Police are investigating what happened in 2-vehicle crash

James says B.C. budget puts priorities on NDP’s poverty, environment plans

She said she expected the government’s poverty reduction and climate change strategies to be priorities in the budget

PHOTOS: Day 1 of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Games kicked off in Red Deer this week

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Stabbing at Lower Mainland banquet hall sends man to hospital

RCMP says victim has ‘non-life threatening’ injuries, incident still under investigation

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Most Read