Cost to removing tolls

The removal of bridge tolls in the Lower Mainland opens questions about bridges yet to be crossed.

Last week, B.C. Premier John Horgan announced that as of Sept. 1, tolls would be eliminated on both the Golden Ears and Port Mann bridges.

Horgan said removal of tolls is about fairness – of British Columbians sharing the infrastructure burden equally.

Some responded with cheers, grateful for the elimination of the $6.30 daily cost of driving to and from work. Others critical of the move called it good politics and bad policy.

BC Green party leader Andrew Weaver, who would have received advanced notice of the announcement as part of an agreement with the BC NDP, called the elimination of tolls “reckless,” and said it would add “billions” in taxpayer-supported debt. The BC Liberals said much the same, warning the move could have a negative impact on the province’s credit rating.

The announcement has opened greater conversations such as how we control traffic congestion (the removal of tolls may redistribute traffic, but not reduce it) and pay for infrastructure.

Eliminating tolls obviously means an immediate loss in revenue to pay down debt on the two bridges. On top of that, if the province has to absorb the $4.2 billion servicing debt run up by the TI Corporation, the Crown corporation that oversees the tolling systems on both bridges, the province’s credit rating, which shapes our borrowing ability, becomes a concern. So then does our ability to fund proposed highway improvements such as the Bruhn Bridge replacement, and the ongoing four laning of Highway 1.

Even with shared federal funding, the province will need millions of dollars to see these projects to fruition.

We may be waiting longer and/or paying more before our local highway infrastructure wants and needs are addressed.

Just Posted

Vernon Search & Rescue find lost snowmobiler

Male, 19, went missing in Hunter’s Range area near Enderby

Bitcoin cannot pay your taxes

Vernon resident an $11,000 victim to scam

New website provides helpful information on Vernon relocation

MovingtoVernon.ca has all kinds of useful information about the city

Lavington firm delivers film prop to Hollywood

Cedarshed Manufacturing garden shed purchased by 20th Century Fox

McMechan Reservoir to become mini-neighbourhood

Vernon property on 39th Avenue hoping to be developed in five phases

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

VIDEO: Fuel truck and train collide in B.C. causing massive fire

More emergency crews are still arriving on scene of a massive fire at the Port Coquitlam rail yard.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Angels at The Mule

Penticton nightclub introduces angel shots for safety

Dryer explosion at Teck Elkview Operations

Locals report hearing loud bang

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Most Read