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Local planner suggests toll for people driving into the US

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Do you ever duck across the line into the US to buy cheap gas? Would you still do it if you had to pay a toll to cross the border?

Ecopath Planning President Eric Doherty is proposing a $5 toll for southbound travellers who are heading into the United States.

“Gas tax is one of the main sources of revenue for our transit system and we have a transit funding crisis that has gotten to the point where we’re cutting back on HandyDART service,” Doherty tells News1130. “We really need the revenue to improve our transit system and this is a very efficient way of collecting revenue.”

Doherty floated the idea at a panel discussion at SFU on Friday and says the response has been mostly positive.

“If we are to increase gas taxes, then people will just drive south of the border to fill up,” he argues. “It seems like people are much more open to this idea than tolling routes that are right on people’s normal commutes where people don’t have a realistic transit alternative.”

The BC government will have a referendum at the end of next year to decide the best way to pay for transit projects in the region. The options for the ballot haven’t been chosen yet, but road pricing and a vehicle levy have both been floated as possibilities.