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To cap or cut tolls: BC Liberals and BC NDP make promises to woo voters

Last Updated Apr 10, 2017 at 8:23 am PDT

The Port Mann Bridge is one of only two local bridges that has a toll. (Courtesy pmh1project.com)
Summary

Commuters split on which tolls plan they prefer as BC Liberals look to cap annual amount

BC NDP say they'll make crossing a tolled bridge free for commuters, if re-elected

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – The next provincial election isn’t for another month and technically the official campaign hasn’t started, but that’s not slowing down the province’s political leaders.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan and Premier Christy Clark were both out this weekend trying to get your vote.

If re-elected next month, Clark and company are promising that her party will cap the amount you pay on tolls every year at $500, which she claims will lead to annual savings of over $1,000 for commuters taking the Port Mann and Golden Ears Bridges. The cap would also apply to the soon to be replaced Pattullo Bridge and George Massey Tunnel replacement project.

“Our commitment to growing the economy and controlling spending means that we are able to make life more affordable for people using toll bridges in the Metro Vancouver area,” says Abbotsford West candidate Mike de Jong. “This cap on tolls will put over $1,000 back into the pockets of daily commuters who use these bridges to get from home to work and back.”

Their promises would go into effect in 2018.

Horgan says if his party is elected, then the BC NDP will get rid of tolls altogether for those taking the Port Mann and Golden Ears Bridges. He says it’s not fair people living south of the Fraser River, for example, are having to pay to cross.

“We’re going to work with municipal governments to make sure we bring transportation and transit improvements to the entire region that make sense for you. We’re going to do that because it’s critically important that we address the congestion and address the challenges people face when they can’t find alternatives to single occupancy vehicles,” argues Horgan.

Meantime, the BC Green Party feels removing tolls would just encourage more single occupancy vehicles. “The moves to cap and eliminate tolls by the BC Liberals and BC NDP (respectively) shift responsibility for paying for the Port Mann bridge from the users to all British Columbians, whether they are in Atlin or Nelson, Duncan or Langley. We need to provide incentives for British Columbians to use more efficient, low-carbon options like public transportation and carpooling. Removing the toll will just encourage more single occupancy vehicle use. BC Greens support tolls as a means to enable greater investment in public transit and to encourage other clean transportation options,” says the party in a statement to NEWS 1130.

The writ officially drops on April 11th and British Columbians go to the polls on May 9th.