Amarjeet Sohi: No tolls on new Champlain Bridge

MONTREAL – The federal government says it will make good on its pledge not impose tolls on the new Champlain Bridge.

Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s new infrastructure minister, made the promise in an interview with Global Edmonton’s Michel Boyer. He also wanted to reassure residents that the project was going as planned.

“The bridge construction is on time, on budget,” said Sohi. “We promised and we made a pledge that it will not be a toll bridge and we can live up to that promise.”

READ MORE: Is a new Champlain Bridge by 2018 realistic?

Asked how the government would then fund the project, Sohi answered that the construction costs were built into the government’s fiscal plans.

“The construction cost as well as the payment costs for the next thirty years are built into the fiscal framework,” said Sohi. “So that revenue from the tolling wasn’t supposed to go towards the construction payments of the bridge, it was supposed to go into the general revenue.”

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READ MORE: Should all bridges in Montreal have tolls?

Sohi also argued that local mayors and chambers of commerce were not consulted about the tolls and that is something he intends to change.

“I will be meeting with the mayors and other partners related to that, and we will be working with the proponent of the project which is a consortium of different companies to convey to them that there won’t be a toll on this bridge.”

WATCH BELOW:Paul Lanoie, Chair of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, sits down with Global’s Senior Anchor Jamie Orchard to discuss “congestion pricing” and how it could help reduce traffic in Montreal.

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