SURREY (NEWS 1130) – BC’s premier says while traffic may have worsened on the Port Mann Bridge since tolls were removed, he isn’t backing down from his decision to get rid of them.
John Horgan admits there has been an increase in traffic and crashes since crossing the bridge became free.
He says that’s unfortunate, “but on balance, the response that I’m hearing from people in Surrey, particularly, but also Maple Ridge and all those that use our infrastructure to move around — not just for work, but for business and for pleasure — are delighted that they’re not being penalized for where they live.”
There’s also no solid word yet on whether road pricing is in our future, as some have advised. “That’s an issue that’s being addressed by the Mayors’ Council, currently… We’re going to await that consultation and see what they have to say.”
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Horgan adds he doesn’t think an increase in accidents or crashes will affect ICBC rates.
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena says increased traffic across the Port Mann was expected, and believes congestion will eventually balance itself out.
“We removed tolls because we wanted to make sure that people were being treated equitably, so that people living anywhere in the Lower Mainland weren’t having to pay an unfair charge to cross a bridge just because of where they lived,” Trevena says.
The Port Mann Bridge is currently handling an extra 30,000 trips per day, leading to more significant accidents and frustrations for drivers.
The BC NDP eliminated tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges on September 1st. Savings for commuting families are estimated at around $1,500 per year.