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Metro Vancouver truckers back road pricing amid congestion concerns

It’s the No. 1 irritant for truck drivers in Metro Vancouver: congestion.

And it has prompted a group representing truck drivers to take a position in the contentious debate around mobility pricing.

BC Trucking Association president Dave Earle says his members are in favour of road pricing. And he says if it doesn’t go ahead, some other method of dealing with congestion is needed.

READ MORE: Report says Metro Vancouver mobility pricing could cost you up to $8 per day

“When you think about moving product from the port, for example, to a shopping centre or [from an] importer/exporter to a different area of the Lower Mainland, drivers and companies are most effective when they can efficiently plan their day,” he said.
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“Given the variable levels of congestion during the day, it’s exquisitely and intolerably difficult to try and plan.”

Earle said if trucks were able to move around the region more effectively and efficiently, although there could be extra costs, they’d be able to do more work on any given day.

The possibility of road pricing has been less welcomed elsewhere.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has slammed the proposal, arguing it will put new affordability pressures on Metro Vancouver residents already squeezed by high housing costs and gas prices.

Many residents are reliant on their vehicles to shop, take kids to school and commute — particularly as housing affordability has pushed people farther from the downtown core, the group argues.

The left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has also warned that any road-pricing initiative will be doomed to fail if it is viewed as unfair by residents, and particularly if it impacts people with lower incomes.

WATCH: Metro Vancouver mobility pricing would cost drivers more

Click to play video: 'Metro Vancouver mobility pricing would cost drivers more' Metro Vancouver mobility pricing would cost drivers more
Metro Vancouver mobility pricing would cost drivers more – May 24, 2018

An independent commission into mobility pricing for Metro Vancouver released its final report last week.

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The commission recommended two possible systems, which it said could cut congestion by 25 per cent and raise up to $25 million annually.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver drivers could see new tolls, per-kilometre fees

One system would involve congestion point charges, essentially tolls at key congestion points such as bridges and tunnels.

The other system involved distance-based charges, where drivers would pay more the further they drove during peak hours.

READ MORE: Mobility pricing doomed to fail if it’s seen as unfair: report

The proposals were estimated to come with a price tag of up to $8 per day per driver.

The commission suggested possibly offsetting those costs with a break on Metro Vancouver gas taxes.

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