SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Earlier this week NEWS 1130 reported about the after-effects of lifting the tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears Bridges.
Currently, the Port Mann is handling an additional 30,000 trips every day which is leading to an increased number of collisions and delays for drivers trying to get to either side of the Fraser River. And there is rampant speculation about what could replace the tolls and one suggestion is road pricing for the entire region.
Gord Price with SFU says technology is changing very fast that even your smartphone could be used to track where and how far you drive for the purpose of road pricing.
He explains both Washington and Oregon states are already testing out different technologies. “They are already introducing, certainly experimenting, and now I think they’ll move very quickly towards some sort of mobility pricing once they find out what the results of their experiments are. We’ll be able to use what they learn to.”
He calls individual bridge tolling an outdated convention — neither reasonable nor fair. “One way or another, new technologies are going to allow us to properly price the use of the road or really any form of transportation in a way that more reflects what the real value is.”
NEWS 1130 asked Premier John Horgan about the uptick in crashes and his thoughts on the increased congestion on the Port Mann Bridge, and he, essentially, isn’t backing down from his decision to get rid of the tolls.
He thinks it’s unfortunate, adding, “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.”
Horgan also doesn’t think the increased number of crashes will impact ICBC rates.
TransLink, the Mayors’ Council and the provincial government are waiting for recommendations from an independent mobility pricing commission before deciding on how to move ahead on regional transportation pricing.
Tolls were removed on both crossings on September 1st.