Same players – TransLink, B.C. government and frazzled, cash-strapped commuters.
The park-and-ride was part of the transportation infrastructure, a success that was being used to capacity. Smelling untapped revenue, the authorities announced a new fee, but then spent $4.5 million of our money in an attempt to justify the fee and help it fly politically.
Though one may hesitate to refer to the Pattullo Bridge as a “success,” it is definitely used to capacity.
The authorities are citing concern over conflict with policy that prevents tolling when no untolled option is available. And they are contemplating spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a replacement – either four lanes that would offer no significant improvement to moving traffic volume, or a six-lane option that would dump 50 per cent more traffic onto the overburdened streets of New Westminster.
Either option seems as much about justifying and making tolls politically acceptable, as it does infrastructure renewal/seismic upgrade.
Let’s not spend hundreds of millions on a new bridge, implement tolls and find out traffic volume is far below what was expected.
Let’s use the South Surrey park-and-ride lesson. Time to forget the “untolled option” policy, take the political heat and implement a small toll on all Fraser River crossings, while reducing the Port Mann toll.
Voila! Pattullo congestion eased, Port Mann and Golden Ears handling more traffic, and cash for new Pattullo, tunnel or whatever priority the authorities come up with.
Al Deagle, Surrey