Editor: I am quite concerned about the tolls being put on these new bridges, and perhaps some of the older ones, as a means to pay for the new bridges. People who must cross those bridges for work on a daily basis will be squeezed to the breaking point financially, not to mention those on low and fixed incomes.
This may well spark many unions to demand pay increases to assist employees who use those bridges on a daily basis. It is very evident that this Liberal government and TransLink decided to tear down the existing Port Mann bridge, which is a good bridge, to force people to pay tolls both ways on the new bridge.
An economist at UBC said that all bridges and tunnels should be tolled. That is ridiculous. Perhaps it may not affect him, or else he has lots of money to pay those tolls.
No doubt, TransLink and the Liberal government have considered tolling the Massey tunnel and all the bridge crossings over the Fraser River, and those coming from the North Shore as well. This means they are getting desperate.
These new bridges and the road construction are part of the infrastructure of B.C. and are there for everyone in B.C., and visitors as well. The Sea to Sky highway had a billion dollar improvement on it, and is free for all to use, with no tolls. Could that be considered preferential treatment for the wealthy who like to ski?
Various new roads and bridges, and ferries in the Interior and the rest of B.C., operate without tolls. A small increase in the income tax for all B.C. residents would eliminate tolls on the infrastructure here as well.
The bean counters should be able to crunch the numbers, do the math and determine what small percentage increase would be required for all B.C. residents who file income taxes, to pay for these bridges and road construction over a designated time frame. This is a good way for this government to eliminate all tolls and pay that debt off very quickly.
It would also eliminate another ongoing cost, that of collecting tolls. The less time it takes to pay the creditors off, the less money will be wasted in interest costs. This proposal is a win-win situation for everyone.
W.A.C. Bennett, B.C.’s best premier, eliminated tolls in B.C. on all bridges when he was in office. He set a good example to follow.
If the Liberal government snapped onto this idea, they would probably increase their popularity manyfold. If it doesn’t, the NDP may improve its standing by adopting it.