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Road pricing could cost families up to $8 per day

Last Updated May 24, 2018 at 3:34 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)

A new road pricing report presented to Metro Vancouver mayors offers two pricing suggestions for the region

A mobility pricing report suggests Metro Vancouver adopt either a distance-based or a check point charge

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – We’re getting a better idea of how much road pricing could cost you.

The Mobility Pricing Independent Commission has outlined costs for two different models.

It suggests “regional congestion point” charges would cost the average paying household $5 to $8 per day and reduce congestion by up to 25% and raise about $1.5 million per year.

Using the $8 figure, calculating with five days per week and 48 working weeks per year, it works out to an annual cost of $1,920.

Another model, which charges based on distance, would cost $3 to $5 per day and have the similar effects on congestion and revenue.

The following chart is an example of how Congestion Point Charge fees could look like, outlining minimum and maximum charges for on and off-peak hours.

A snapshot from the Mobility Pricing Independent Commission’s final report (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

The Commission has also given examples of distance-based charges with various scenarios, including multiple zones and fees.

A snapshot from the Mobility Pricing Independent Commission’s final report (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

No particular model has been recommended.

“We’re concerned about fairness, affordability is a big part of that fairness and so there are some additional things that need to be considered,” says Commission Chair Allan Seckel. “Such as whether there should be caps on daily charges, weekly caps, other changes that might ameliorate the impact that it has.”

He adds Metro Vancouver is still likely years away from mobility pricing, and recommends more public consultation and studies.

“In other regions where congestion charges has been implemented, support for mobility pricing has been lower before it’s been implemented, but higher after it’s been implemented and the public can start to see the benefits of what it brings.” Seckel says. “People need to see the benefits of reduced congestion and improvements to infrastructure to support something of this nature.”

Seckel says congestion point charges would be easier and quicker to bring in, but adds the distance-based model also has its upsides.

New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote says there are still questions around how mobility pricing could help raise revenue for transportation infrastructure. He also says it will take time to build public trust for mobility pricing.

He believes one potential solution is eliminating the gas tax to offset some of the cost.

“The commission’s suggestion is that this really does need to come in combination of the removal of a lot of other, what they term ‘inefficient and disconnected’ taxes related to transportation,” Cote says.

“There’s a lot of skepticism and concern about the idea of mobility pricing,” he adds. “But when you start to add into the conversation about eliminating the gas tax or eliminating or reducing property tax or the hydro levy that goes to transportation, you start to see a lot more acceptance in the public.”

Any prices would have to be approved by the province, and are likely still years away.

The report says more study is needed but some are calling this a strong road map for the future of transportation in the region, and a way to pay for car and transit infrastructure.