Delta Mayor Lois Jackson is the latest to call for regional tolling on all of Metro Vancouver’s major bridges. And she has a specific price in mind — $1.
“I really believe that a buck a bridge is probably something that we really should be analyzing because we do realize a lot of money from it every year,” she said.
Jackson said her staff crunched the most recent numbers from 2011, looking at all bridge traffic. She admits the figures are conservative, but says it could work.
“I simply multiplied that by a dollar and we ended up with $378 million a year in revenue if we were to undertake this program of a buck a bridge,” she said.
Jackson said the system would be straightforward and fair, spreading out the cost of future bridge repairs, road projects, and transit upgrades to all motorists.
Tolls are nothing new, but they have traditionally only been used on new projects. The Lion’s Gate Bridge and the Massey Tunnel were both tolled until the 1960s.
But there is a history of politicians who have called for regional tolling. In 2006, Vancouver City Councillor Raymond Louie said “some level of tolling is probably appropriate.”
It didn’t happen.
Tolling all major bridges would require a change to the provincial government policy that says there should be at least one free option.
Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman said Jackson’s idea is a good start and the province should also be “taking a look road at pricing structures.”
“It could be a user-pay type of system,” she added. “We don’t want to make it complex.”
But don’t expect that anytime soon. B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone said projects to replace the Massey Tunnel and the Pattullo Bridge are still years away.
For now he’s promising more conversation on the issue of tolling.
– With files from Jill Bennett
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