The BC Liberals’ and BC NDP’s plans to remove or cap bridge tolls in the Lower Mainland if elected will do nothing to ease gridlock.
That’s according to the Metro Vancouver mayors’ council on transportation, days after the two political parties released their positions ahead of the election call on Tuesday.
The Liberals have pledged to limit the amount you pay in bridge tolls to $500 a year, while the New Democrats say they would eliminate the fees altogether for the Golden Ears and Port Mann bridges.
New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote says those plans might be popular with saving drivers money, but it won’t help congestion on major roads.
“I think the reason the Port Mann has not seen levels of congestion is because of the tolls,” Cote said.
As for losing an estimated $30 million in toll revenue, Cote said he believes other transportation projects, such as light-rail in Surrey and the Pattullo Bridge replacement, will suffer as a result.
“While the BC Liberals have made an important commitment to matching the $2.2 billion in federal funding for Vancouver and Surrey rapid projects included in the 10-year vision,” he said in a release, “unfortunately their platform is silent on several other urgent transportation priorities for our region.”
He added it’s “disappointing” that Metro mayors were “cut out” of the platform policy-making.
The mayors’ council has sent a questionnaire to each party, asking them to specify their commitments to six priorities including if they’ll match invest into SkyTrain and HandyDart upgrades, replace the Pattullo Bridge and authorize a development cost charge for transit.So far, only the Liberals have responded, Cote said.
The Greens have said they would not change tolling as it stands if elected.