PORT MOODY (NEWS 1130) – A week after the BC Liberals and New Democrats offered commuters huge breaks on bridge tolls, one Metro Vancouver mayor admits he’s worried about the long-term impact.
With the provincial election in sight, the Liberals have promised to cap tolls for the Port Mann and Golden Ears Bridges at $500 a year, while the NDP’s plan is to eliminate them all together.
Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay says both pledges send the wrong message.
“You need to pay for this infrastructure somehow and you need to make it a little bit of a social penalty for encouraging people not to drive everywhere in their cars.”
Clay is one of several Metro Vancouver mayors pushing for every bridge crossing in the region to be tolled.
“Why isn’t it a dollar or two dollars on every bridge crossing?”
“Gas tax funds a good part of our transit system and then, we put electric cars on the road that –not only don’t we tax them, in some cases, we’re supplying the electricity for the cars, so we need to be very careful about doing things that encourage sprawl and encourage the use of a single-occupant vehicle.”
He says some kind of ‘social penalty’ is needed to get people out of their cars. “So, the more people we can get near transit, even if it’s a bus that gets them to a SkyTrain hub and then, gets them to their job that maybe is closer to home, then we’re winning.”
Local mayors have been seeking approval to toll all bridges, so the money collected can be spent on transit improvements, but there’s been resistance from Victoria. The Port Mann and Golden Ears Bridges have also been losing money because many drivers take alternate toll-free crossings.