Anyone hoping for tolling equity on Metro Vancouver’s various bridges better be prepared to wait a few more years yet before any possible changes.
Transportation minister Todd Stone says at the moment there’s no rush.
“We have said that until the George Massey tunnel is replaced and the Pattullo bridge is replaced with a tolled structure, if indeed that is what the mayor’s council decides to do at the end of the day, at that point our tolling policy will need to be updated because there won’t be a free alternative for folks aside from the Alex Fraser.”
Stone says we are at least five years away from the first of those two new bridges coming online.
Stone say he TransLink minister Peter Fassbender are engaged in what he called vibrant discussions with stakeholders like the BC Trucking Association.
While municipal politicians, especially those South of the Fraser call for tolling equity, Stone says there is plenty of time for robust discussions with everyone in the region.
TransLink boss praised
Stone also had kind words for TransLink’s new boss.
“I am very impressed with the new TransLink CEO. It is refreshing that TransLink seems to now have, finally after many years, seems to have a champion.”
Todd Stone says Kevin Desmond is doing all the right things and most importantly he seems to be a unifier in the funding debate between the province and the region’s mayors.
“He seems to be focused on the right things. Trying to through his experience trying to bring all the parties together and encourage continued discussion. His thoughts on regional tolling and so any other issues are very welcome.”
This week Desmond suggested the province and mayors need to decide on a TransLink governance model and put the issue to bed.
He also urged both sides to sort out the transit and transportation funding debate so TransLink could begin buffing up services.
Not done there Desmond said mobility pricing was worth a serious look and the region’s ability to move freight around was problematic.