Lower Port Mann Bridge tolls a possibility

Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom says bridge tolls may be lower for the first year, as the full 10-lane replacement won't be open yet.

As the Port Mann bridge replacement nears completion, Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom says he is “optimistic” that the toll can be lowered below $3 per crossing, at least for the first year.

Lekstrom said in an interview this week that his discussions with the corporation set up to build the 10-lane bridge indicate it may be possible to reduce the toll rate by extending the debt repayment period. When the project was announced, a $3 toll was calculated to pay the bridge off over 40 years.

Lekstrom said he has heard from many people who consider that toll too high, especially since the bridge will function with only eight lanes for the first year. The old bridge must be taken down before the last two lanes can be connected to Highway 1.

So would a toonie get you across during the first year? Lekstrom wouldn’t give specific number until the entire tolling framework is released, which is expected to be in early September.

Lekstrom said he’s also confident that the promised rapid bus service will be in place from day one. If TransLink’s $30 million funding shortfall isn’t covered by savings from an ongoing audit of the regional transit group, he said he’s committed to work with communities to find the money.

A large park and ride for the rapid bus service is being built in Langley.

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