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  #1  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2017, 4:04 PM
Trainguy Trainguy is offline
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Region-Wide Tolling

This article was published in May of 2016. It examines the contentious issue from both angles. Personally I think tolling every bridge would discourage people from travelling across the region because of the added cost. However, just tolling a few bridges unfairly targets a select group of the population. 2 new bridges are in the planning stages and both will be tolled.

What do you think?


"Given that people will drive halfway across Metro Vancouver to save a few bucks on clothes or food, it shouldn’t have surprised anyone that drivers would lengthen their daily commute to avoid crossing a tolled bridge.

That, of course, is precisely what happened when the new Port Mann Bridge opened for traffic in 2012 and the provincial government decided to impose a fee for crossing it. Many penny-wise drivers decided to use toll-free alternatives such as the Pattullo or Alex Fraser bridges instead. Needless to say, all of those cars going out of their way to avoid the Port Mann created greater congestion on the other bridges they were taking.

Now there is a worry that when the government replaces the aging Massey Tunnel with a new tolled 10-lane bridge, even more cars are going to head to toll-free options such as the Alex Fraser, making the commute over that crossing even worse than it is now.

With this in mind, Delta Mayor Lois Jackson has come up with an idea: Put a low-cost toll on all Metro Vancouver bridges to make the system more equitable and eliminate the congestion problems being created by the fare evaders. It’s a terrific idea.

We should first acknowledge there is a movement among certain Metro Vancouver mayors to stop the Massey replacement bridge before planned construction commences next year. The opposition is mostly being led by mayors who don’t have to worry about congestion in their communities because they are serviced by rapid-transit lines. For instance, Burnaby’s Derek Corrigan wants to stop the Massey replacement project. Mr. Corrigan wants to stop just about anything, but that’s another matter.

When it comes to transportation needs, Burnaby has few. Mr. Corrigan’s community is served by two rapid-transit lines. He doesn’t care about people living south of the Fraser, or traffic jams in the tunnel and two-hour commutes. All he knows is that a B.C. Liberal government wants to build the new bridge and he’s a New Democrat who is going to oppose everything and anything Premier Christy Clark is backing. He is not alone in his hypocrisy. Richmond’s Malcolm Brodie is also against the new Massey bridge. But he’s got the amazing Canada Line; what does he care about the poor commuters in South Delta or White Rock?

But I digress.

Ms. Jackson is proposing a flat $1 toll that would be introduced on every major crossing in Metro Vancouver (currently 12). This would replace the current policy of only tolling new bridges to recover the costs of construction. A $1 levy would be considerably less than the $3.15 people pay to cross the Port Mann or $4.35 it currently costs to go over the Golden Ears Bridge.

Based on the government’s present traffic volume numbers, a regional tolling system would raise roughly $300-million annually. Ms. Jackson proposes using some of it to cover annual operating costs of the new system itself, while the rest could be used for new infrastructure investment throughout Metro Vancouver. In other words, it could become a revenue source to replace the 0.5-per-cent sales tax levy that Metro mayors were hoping voters would approve in last year’s transit referendum to fund the ongoing transit needs of the region.

A region-wide tolling system would help distribute transportation and transit costs more equitably. In theory, everyone should be in favour of such a plan.

In theory.

Of course, those who for years have crossed the Lions Gate or Second Narrows bridges without paying would no doubt be outraged at the idea of having to fork out a whole $1 to suddenly get across those spans. The protests would be loud and messy. I’m sure the Canadian Taxpayers Federation would seize the opportunity to lead another grassroots revolt. And pretty soon that would scare off pro-toll politicians enough they would completely fold their tents.

We know for certain that no provincial party, including the governing Liberals, is going to back any region-wide tolling system before next year’s general election. But eventually, whichever party is leading this province is going to have to grapple with this issue.

The tolling policy in place now not only doesn’t make sense, it is creating more problems than it is fixing. Hopefully, at some point common sense will prevail. But I wouldn’t attempt holding your breath until that day arrives."
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  #2  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2017, 4:23 PM
WarrenC12 WarrenC12 is offline
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Yes I think a $1 toll on old bridges is appropriate, or perhaps set the price at 1/3 of the cost of the tolls over new bridges. A few problems I see at the start (outside of protests from the British Properties over $1):

1. What would the infrastructure cost, capital and operating, to add these tolls? We'd need gantries and infrastructure at: AFB, GMT, LGB, 2nd Narrows, OSB, KSB... I'm assuming tolling False Creek bridges would be out as they are too easy to skirt around, and already under total financial and operational control by the CoV. With tolls of only $1, how much would just go to operating the system itself? 25 cents? more?

2. The province and/or Translink would need to take control of all applicable crossings, none of this split between MOTI and Translink. Ideally MOTI should take it over and buy out the GEB.
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  #3  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2017, 4:34 PM
aberdeen5698 aberdeen5698 is online now
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I've long been in favour of tollling and road pricing as a way to manage congestion without having to spend tens of billions of dollars on new infrastructure, while at the same time raising funds for expansion where it turns out to be needed. And especially to fund transit options which play a vital role in congestion management by providing a viable commuter alternative to driving.

Go for it!
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  #4  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2017, 7:22 PM
cornholio cornholio is offline
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All tolls should be removed from existing bridges and legislation strengthened to ensure future tolls are not placed on them. Tolls are a flat tax that hits a essential service, and hits the poor the hardest. They have no place in our society when it comes to mobility. I would also go as far as to say transit fares should be eliminated. All of this should be coming our of general revenue where you can collect revenue via progressive tax schemes.
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Old Posted Feb 10, 2017, 7:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornholio View Post
All tolls should be removed from existing bridges and legislation strengthened to ensure future tolls are not placed on them. Tolls are a flat tax that hits a essential service, and hits the poor the hardest. They have no place in our society when it comes to mobility. I would also go as far as to say transit fares should be eliminated. All of this should be coming our of general revenue where you can collect revenue via progressive tax schemes.
Exactly.

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Originally Posted by WarrenC12 View Post
I'm assuming tolling False Creek bridges would be out as they are too easy to skirt around
Haha no, if we were to go through with such an idiotic plan, the False Creek bridges better be included. And the Flats "super road" too. It's only fair.
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Old Posted Feb 10, 2017, 8:15 PM
WarrenC12 WarrenC12 is offline
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Originally Posted by Pinion View Post
Exactly.

Haha no, if we were to go through with such an idiotic plan, the False Creek bridges better be included. And the Flats "super road" too. It's only fair.
Then people will just use other routes. Tolls only work when there are no other routes, as we are seeing today.
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  #7  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2017, 8:38 PM
twoNeurons twoNeurons is online now
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Let's be honest... the LGB is a pretty convenient bridge. It brings you RIGHT into downtown. It should be tolled more than any other bridge... especially given the fact that the CoV has a hate-on for cars.
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Old Posted Feb 10, 2017, 8:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornholio View Post
All tolls should be removed from existing bridges and legislation strengthened to ensure future tolls are not placed on them. Tolls are a flat tax that hits a essential service, and hits the poor the hardest. They have no place in our society when it comes to mobility. I would also go as far as to say transit fares should be eliminated. All of this should be coming our of general revenue where you can collect revenue via progressive tax schemes.
Pfft, good luck with getting that tax increase.

Nothing's free in life; you want something, help pay for it. Bridge tolls are just transit fares for drivers - and no, both need to be kept. Shit, yours is $1.75 cheaper!
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Old Posted Feb 10, 2017, 9:14 PM
Bdawe Bdawe is offline
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If only people who bemoan road tolling were so concerned for the poor with respect to literally any other topic
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Old Posted Feb 10, 2017, 9:21 PM
jollyburger jollyburger is online now
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Screw road tolling, stick GPS transmitters in a car and when you drive 1KM whether it's across a bridge or to the supermarket then you get taxed. You drive during rush hour you get charged more. You speed you get an automatic ticket.

Simple.

(Or just raise gas taxes which is essentially the same thing unless you refine gasoline out of your basement).
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  #11  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2017, 9:30 PM
cornholio cornholio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bdawe View Post
If only people who bemoan road tolling were so concerned for the poor with respect to literally any other topic
I support the poor, hence my stance against mass immigration practices which inflict great suffering on our poor and lower middle class. The fact of the matter is tolls and mobility pricing is unfair. It is no different then King Arthur charging a bridge toll for the peasants in the Robin Hood world. Its simply unfair.

If you want demand control use credits or some other scheme.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jollyburger View Post
Screw road tolling, stick GPS transmitters in a car and when you drive 1KM whether it's across a bridge or to the supermarket then you get taxed. You drive during rush hour you get charged more. You speed you get an automatic ticket.

Simple.

(Or just raise gas taxes which is essentially the same thing unless you refine gasoline out of your basement).
GPS monitors can always be tampered with. I don't see a way that they can work without trampling everyone's privacy rights. Everyone needs to move around, take it out of general revenue, provide diverse infrastructure and let people CHOOSE how they want to move around at any given point in time for any given trip. Have the goal of making it as cheap, convenient, and efficient to move around and give people as many options as possible. They will pick the rights ones over time and society will benefit economically.
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Old Posted Feb 10, 2017, 11:17 PM
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VancouverOfTheFuture VancouverOfTheFuture is offline
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I'm against it, tolling has been used on new infrastructure for many many many many decades. most of the crossing in our region were told at one point, including the George Massey, Oak Street, Lions Gate, 2nd Narrows, and Pattullo. people just forget because all tolls were removed in the 1960s.

the George Massey Tunnel's toll was removed in 1964, it cost $1.00. according to the Bank of Canada, that would be $7.73 in 2016. so, when people talk about tolls and how expensive they are, look back. the Port Mann's current toll is $3.15, a far cry from what they were in 1964.

and the False Creek Bridges would never be tolled, those were paid for and built by the City of Vancouver. plus, there are a lot of other options to get around them.
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Old Posted Feb 10, 2017, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twoNeurons View Post
Let's be honest... the LGB is a pretty convenient bridge. It brings you RIGHT into downtown. It should be tolled more than any other bridge... especially given the fact that the CoV has a hate-on for cars.
Are you just trolling? You could say the same for the False Creek bridges.

Widen Lions Gate and I'd happily pay a toll. Although I still agree that tolls are just a regressive tax.
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Old Posted Feb 11, 2017, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornholio View Post
All tolls should be removed from existing bridges and legislation strengthened to ensure future tolls are not placed on them. Tolls are a flat tax that hits a essential service, and hits the poor the hardest. They have no place in our society when it comes to mobility. I would also go as far as to say transit fares should be eliminated. All of this should be coming our of general revenue where you can collect revenue via progressive tax schemes.
This is why I think a tax return system should be in place for road tolls and transit fares for low income earners and families.

If all bridges are tolled under a single system, coupled with our compass card system, i have no reason to see why this cannot be done.
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Old Posted Feb 11, 2017, 12:25 AM
Trainguy Trainguy is offline
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I am very much against gas taxes because it doesn't go back into transportation efforts and it just raises the cost of everything because truck delivery isn't free and the tax just gets passed on to consumers. The problem with bridge tolling is that out of province licence plates get a free ride. My understanding is that there are no systems in place to collect from them. A reasonable toll like $1 would be easier to handle than the increasing toll on current and future bridges.

Keep in mind that Golden Gate Bridge tolls are $6.50 and $7.50 per crossing US $$
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Old Posted Feb 11, 2017, 12:47 AM
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$1 tolls not practical

So many people are calling for $1 toll for all bridges. However this is not practical at all. It costs money to monitor the tolls, and collect them. At $1 per toll, we will spend most of the money on collections with very little left in the end.

For example- it costs $1 just to mail out your toll invoice. Let alone maintain databases, infrastructure, etc.

$1 tolls may deter some people from driving as much, but it will not raise much money to pay for roads and bridges.

The gas tax costs almost nothing to increase, and correlates exactly to distance traveled. In my opinion this is the most useful system for collecting our tolls.
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Old Posted Feb 11, 2017, 1:05 AM
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Originally Posted by weekend View Post
The gas tax costs almost nothing to increase, and correlates exactly to distance traveled. In my opinion this is the most useful system for collecting our tolls.
...until electric vehicles become more common. Then something needs to be added for them as they don't use gas.
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Old Posted Feb 11, 2017, 1:07 AM
whatnext whatnext is offline
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Someone needs to drive a stake through the heart of this urban planner wet dream of soaking motorists at every turn to pay for transit.
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Old Posted Feb 11, 2017, 1:20 AM
aberdeen5698 aberdeen5698 is online now
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Originally Posted by weekend View Post
For example- it costs $1 just to mail out your toll invoice.
What is this "mail out" of which you speak?
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Old Posted Feb 11, 2017, 5:30 AM
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Someone needs to drive a stake through the heart of this urban planner wet dream of soaking motorists at every turn to pay for transit.
Are motorists paying for transit or are they paying for the roads and bridges they use?
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