VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – An independent commission tasked with figuring out the future of transportation pricing in Metro Vancouver has officially started its work.
Over the next ten months, members will consider a wide range of mobility pricing options, including new fees for using certain roads at certain times, tolls on more bridges, and tweaks to the current public transit pricing model.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, notes that some key commuter routes already take drivers ten to 15 minutes longer than they did a decade ago, and that one million more people are expected to move to the region over the next 30 years.
“We need to improve the system to reduce the traffic congestion,” says Robertson. “We need a system that’s more fair, and mobility pricing is an approach many cities are taking now to raise some funding.”
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Former BC deputy minister Allan Seckel has been tapped to chair the commission, and former NDP MLA Joy MacPhail will be the vice-chair. Other members of the commission are still being finalized.
The commission’s findings will be tabled in the spring of 2018. Depending on what they are, provincial approval may be needed before the ideas can be implemented.
“Mobility pricing, the way it’s defined in the terms of reference, is very broad, so it’s not one solution or another that we’re looking at,” says Daniel Firth, the commission’s executive director. “Might we arrive at the end of this (and find) the system we have today is, if not the best option, then the least-worst option? It’s entirely possible.”
The commission has a budget of $2.31 million, including a $550 per-meeting stipend for each member.