With just a month to go until the provincial election, the B.C. Liberals pledged that they’ll put a $500 cap on bridge tolls if re-elected.
Speaking with Charmaine De Silva on CKNW Weekend, Finance Minister Mike de Jong says a $500 bridge toll cap would cost around $30-million.
He says they can accommodate that within the Balanced Budget 2017.
As for new projects such as the George Massey replacement bridge…
“The TI Corporation will continue to need to collect the revenues that are factored into that business plan and where people are exceeding the cap, it’ll be up to the government to make good on that additional revenue.”
Meanwhile, B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation Jordan Bateman says this would be good news for residents south of the Fraser River.
“It’s really hard to express like how big that would be for a lot of families out there.”
Lower Mainlanders pay 50 c/L in gas taxes (thx to TransLink) to help fund infrastructure like bridges. Cutting tolls will be welcome relief. https://t.co/OuhxOK2Mjz
— Jordan Bateman (@jordanbateman) April 9, 2017
He says some spend close to $2,000 a year.
“If you have a job on the other side of the bridge, you know, you’re spending about $1,800 a year going back and forth. So you’re talking about a tax-savings of $1,300 bucks for that family, that is a huge.”
In a statement, the Liberals say the toll cap would also apply to the Pattullo Bridge and George Massey Tunnel replacements once they’re running.
The Liberals say the toll cap would be applicable to personally registered vehicles that get a free TReO decal.
The toll caps would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
CKNW has reached out to the Liberals for comment.
“It flies in the face of many things, including the regional plan for transportation,” says New Westminster City Councillor Patrick Johnstone, who had few positives to say about the B.C. Liberals’ pre-election platform.
Johnstone says it’s bizarre when it’s known both the Port Mann and Golden Ears Bridges aren’t exactly in the black and there’s a need to fund major transit projects in the region.
“The Mayor’s Council has been very clear that putting road pricing out is the model for the future of funding transportation in the region and it appears the government has decided unilaterally to undermine that, undermine the Mayor’s Council’s plan once again.”
But just hours later, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan issued his response, vowing that not only would his party cap tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears – he’d eliminate tolls completely.
— John Horgan (@jjhorgan) April 9, 2017
The B.C. NDP in its release didn’t offer up more specific details – when would the change take effect, and how could it be paid for – but Horgan says it’d be a move to make life more affordable.
Horgan also didn’t say the elimination of tolls would be applied to future projects, like the Pattullo Bridge and George Massey tunnel replacement bridge.
With files from Matt Lee