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  #21  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2017, 7:18 AM
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I don't get the problem: just like transit riders pay for the cost of operating their buses and trains, a flat fare allows drivers to pay for the cost of maintaining their infrastructure (like they already did decades ago), AND without causing gridlock at one particular toll-free bridge or tunnel.

Said riders, by the way, pay $2-3 per trip - I don't think $1 two or three times a day will send anybody to the poorhouse. Heck, if you use the Port Mann now, you're saving money!
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  #22  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2017, 4:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Migrant_Coconut View Post
I don't get the problem: just like transit riders pay for the cost of operating their buses and trains, a flat fare allows drivers to pay for the cost of maintaining their infrastructure (like they already did decades ago), AND without causing gridlock at one particular toll-free bridge or tunnel.

Said riders, by the way, pay $2-3 per trip - I don't think $1 two or three times a day will send anybody to the poorhouse. Heck, if you use the Port Mann now, you're saving money!
The problem is that the region-wide tolling option would go to a referendum vote. We all know the result of that one... "Hell NO!!!"
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  #23  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2017, 7:43 PM
cganuelas1995 cganuelas1995 is offline
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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.
Any crossing with the contraflow system should not be tolled. Contraflow without protection should be illegal.
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  #24  
Old Posted Mar 1, 2017, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Migrant_Coconut View Post
I don't get the problem: just like transit riders pay for the cost of operating their buses and trains, a flat fare allows drivers to pay for the cost of maintaining their infrastructure (like they already did decades ago), AND without causing gridlock at one particular toll-free bridge or tunnel.

Said riders, by the way, pay $2-3 per trip - I don't think $1 two or three times a day will send anybody to the poorhouse. Heck, if you use the Port Mann now, you're saving money!
I agree with the sentiment expressed by others, that often, a toll is a regressive tax, forced onto the backs of the middle class (the people who need to drive to work) so that the rich can enjoy substantially lower taxes (and make money off the people paying tolls driving to get to their jobs that put money into rich people's pockets).

But I also think that bridges and large pieces of infrastructure do have a limited capacity, and tolls are a useful tool to even out demand. The proceeds from the tolls then go towards paying them off.

Just like I think everyone should have access to clean water, everyone should have equal access to roads.

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Originally Posted by Trainguy View Post
The problem is that the region-wide tolling option would go to a referendum vote. We all know the result of that one... "Hell NO!!!"
I think it depends on how it is structured. The way it is right now, is that some people are basically grandfathered into a good situation, and others are grandfathered into a bad one. And by using high tolls to pay for new bridges, unfairly punishes people who might not have originally chosen to be in that situation in the first place.

For example, there are many people who drive over the AFB or through the GMT, who have been doing so for 20 years. 20 years ago, traffic over both crossings was pretty similar, and not that hard. One group of people were pretty lucky in that they have a newer bridge (one about to get a free upgrade to a counterflow system), and one group going through a much older tunnel. That second group, because of expansion and the land use decisions made by other people, are now going to have to pay a huge fee, through no action of their own.

And before you think that first group gets off scottfree, they will probably have to deal with more congestion from people skipping the toll. So the situation is pretty much lose lose (from a compared to yesterday POV).

That's why I think simple, flat tolling across the board might work. The small cost would still make people think twice about making pointless trips. AND money would be collected to help pay for improvements.

===============

My idea:

What I think would work is if Translink and the Province joined and created a subsidiary crown corp that was just in charge of bridges and major infrastructure. All the money collected from all the bridges (and a downtown congestion charge (to keep people from skirting the False creek bridges)) would go into one pot, that would then go towards maintenance and paying down the debt from the projects and financing new projects.

Of course I don't think it would be enough to be self sustaining, but it would be like fares collected on Transit. They are only part of the funding mechanism, like the fares collected on my Skytrain ride from Surrey goes towards funding the Evergreen line.
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  #25  
Old Posted Mar 1, 2017, 11:25 PM
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Around the world tolling has only really taken off when it came with a new alternate route, and it's been a failure otherwise. There's weird psychology of decision making at play.

I predict road space will stagnate, and we'll build lots of skinny tunnels for autonomously driven electric vehicles. Which will be fine, until we come to depend on them and all the easy opportunities to expand are gone.

The elephant in the room is the provincial government does not have room on the books to replace, let alone expand our current infrastructure. But P3s cost more than the provincial government borrowing directly.

So we've switched from a home equity line of credit, to payday loans and we're worrying about buying new toys. The provincial liberal party absolutely does not deserve the image of being sharp on the economy, but I guess the false image can last so long as their opposition does not even try.

Healthcare costs are a huge problem and we won't be ready for it, the plans don't exist. It'll be like how the cost of living in Vancouver is dealt with by the city blaming the province. Time for a house swap, let's see BC Vision and Vancouver Liberals try their hands at each other's tiller.
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  #26  
Old Posted Mar 1, 2017, 11:52 PM
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The elephant in the room is the provincial government does not have room on the books to replace, let alone expand our current infrastructure.
The Massey Tunnel would like to have a word with you.
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  #27  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2017, 3:06 AM
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Originally Posted by BCPhil View Post
For example, there are many people who drive over the AFB or through the GMT, who have been doing so for 20 years. 20 years ago, traffic over both crossings was pretty similar, and not that hard. One group of people were pretty lucky in that they have a newer bridge (one about to get a free upgrade to a counterflow system), and one group going through a much older tunnel. That second group, because of expansion and the land use decisions made by other people, are now going to have to pay a huge fee, through no action of their own.
Welcome to gentrification!

And I agree with the other points you made.
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  #28  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2017, 2:29 PM
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We already have a car toll.

It's called the gas tax.

In any sense, most taxes are regressive taxes- the sales tax, gas tax, tolling...



The big, and unfortunate long term budgetary doom of most western nations is the welfare state.



Also: http://www.asianjournal.ca/wp-conten...udget-2015.jpg

I honestly don't think we need a tolling tax, but at the same time, we don't want to lavishly spend more. We need to reduce our debt burden. Especially if a recession comes, or if oil stays low in cost.

BTW, "Fiscal Policy" is government-speak for interest repayments. We spend quite a bit on it, no?

Would be nice if we could cut that down and reduce sales taxes.
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  #29  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2017, 4:34 PM
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Originally Posted by fredinno View Post
We already have a car toll.

It's called the gas tax.

In any sense, most taxes are regressive taxes- the sales tax, gas tax, tolling...



The big, and unfortunate long term budgetary doom of most western nations is the welfare state.



Also: http://www.asianjournal.ca/wp-conten...udget-2015.jpg

I honestly don't think we need a tolling tax, but at the same time, we don't want to lavishly spend more. We need to reduce our debt burden. Especially if a recession comes, or if oil stays low in cost.

BTW, "Fiscal Policy" is government-speak for interest repayments. We spend quite a bit on it, no?

Would be nice if we could cut that down and reduce sales taxes.
Yeah, if we want to cut down driving or fund road projects the gas tax is probably the best way imo, besides appearance what's the difference
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  #30  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2017, 5:27 PM
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Yeah, if we want to cut down driving or fund road projects the gas tax is probably the best way imo, besides appearance what's the difference
Thing is that we also benefit by controlling usage of particular choke points like downtown or expensive bridges, where capacity will always be of short supply. gas taxes treat all infrastructure as equally expensive and all traffic levels as equally efficient.
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  #31  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2017, 5:32 PM
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Thing is that we also benefit by controlling usage of particular choke points like downtown or expensive bridges, where capacity will always be of short supply. gas taxes treat all infrastructure as equally expensive and all traffic levels as equally efficient.
Gas taxes have a slight advantage in that they hit inefficient vehicles more than efficient ones, which gives a slight incentive towards buying fuel efficient vehicles. But then that goes the other way in that when more people are driving fuel efficient vehicles the amount of money collected through gas taxes go down...
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  #32  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2017, 8:13 PM
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The Massey Tunnel would like to have a word with you.
The Massey bridge will be a P3, which is my point. The Liberals do not have the budget space to spend, so they are choosing a more expensive option that nominally keeps the debt off their books even though defaulting on the payments is not an option.

I think it's essential to replace the Massey tunnel, and I see the need for other improvements that will be worth more than they cost.

We're in a ship headed for the rocks, we passed the point of no return under Christy Clark's reign. Drilling holes below the waterline to slow the boat down before the crash does work in the sense it buys more time before sinking, but the consequence is that it guarantees sinking the ship.

Look at the ICBC's dividend and Hydro's water purchase account. The provincial government transfers money out of crown corporations at will, even if they have to go into debt at a higher interest rate to provide it. Then came the payday loan P3s when the crown corporation credit cards maxed out. The province doesn't want to say it, but they're not stingy out of ideology but because the money isn't there.

I guess we could still privatize liquor distribution, I'm not sure what the snafu was there.

I guess my point is the economy, taxation, and public funding in the province doesn't work any longer. We might as well start from scratch. The big RE industry won't like it at first, but we'll probably transition to municipal bonds financed by Development Cost Levies that charge $X/s.f. per category of new development until the new bridge/subway/etc. is paid off.

The upside is if that works well, we could have a more responsive system where projects go ahead when they become worth it, instead of depending on a bunch of disconnected governments coming together at the same time without any one using their power to stop or delay a project elsewhere to get what they want for themselves. The downside are all the cities in America that went bankrupt when people with little accountability played the system much like our provincial government is doing today where they set up huge failures for others to deal with in the future.

Part of the problem is that there isn't one problem. There is widespread economic stress. Reducing royalties and costs for gas, mining, forestry, fishing has not kept rural jobs even stable despite growing markets. One day everyone and everywhere will be doing a little better, so the number and scale of crises will vanish. Until then, it's balancing a million failures.

The pre-commencement period is getting longer, and the scope of work is getting smaller to not include where the lanes will head when Oak St bridge is still 2 lanes each way.

Last edited by Genauso; Mar 2, 2017 at 8:23 PM.
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  #33  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2017, 9:53 PM
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Yeah, if we want to cut down driving or fund road projects the gas tax is probably the best way imo, besides appearance what's the difference
The problem with trying to change behaviour with a gas tax is that people don't associate the penalty with an individual trip. They fill up once every week or two and gripe about the cost of gas, but they don't think about it each day that they drive.

Associating a cost with a particular trip or with distance traveled makes a huge difference in the psychology of the penalty. When I was driving car share vehicles I was acutely aware of every minute spent waiting in congestion, and I made sure I got the maximum value out of every trip.

This is why the bridge tolls have had such a big impact on traffic volumes. People know exactly what they're paying each time they cross that bridge, and will often go to irrational lengths to avoid it.
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  #34  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2017, 10:24 PM
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Good points made, idk what I was thinking. I do think any toll plan needs to extend beyond bridges though. We should incentivsize driving on less congested major roads as well. Otherwise it just starts to feel like a tax on everyone on the North Shore and South of the Fraser.
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  #35  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2017, 10:43 PM
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I know there's a difference the cost of building for peak vs average use.

I realize there may be some outliers that choose a commute that's significantly longer because they expect they'll save even more on the price of land.

But something that is forgotten, is that traffic isn't just kids driving up and down the street because gas is 5 cents/L and they have nothing better to do. It's not like a toll will reduce demand, as much as it will shift it.

Tolls shift demand because most people aren't thinking about driving most of the time they do it, it's automatic. Now you're asking them to gamble on paying a fee as one option for a set of uncertain experiences. I don't think price signaling will work until it's a closed loop where real-time traffic conditions are fed into your car so that it picks the best route for you.

I think we're talking about tolls right now because nobody wants to chip in more money, and that will be true whether you're talking about income taxes, gas taxes, gps-per-km tolls, bridge tolls. It's not a secret that land cost is leading Surrey's growth, and not booming jobs or amenities. We can talk about how great the economy is all day long on TV, but not being able to afford what was done easily in the past says a lot.


For now it'd be more practical to deal with weight/axle. Road wear is proportional to the weight^3 / area of contact patch. Maybe we could save some money if people switched to smaller vehicles, and covering the cost of damage should be built into the rate trucking companies are charging. Focus on the making changes that have the biggest payoff, and least effort.

I wonder what a fee based on kg&km driven would do to Translink, at what ridership level would it make sense to pick skytrain for a given line.
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  #36  
Old Posted Mar 2, 2017, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Genauso View Post
For now it'd be more practical to deal with weight/axle. Road wear is proportional to the weight^3 / area of contact patch. Maybe we could save some money if people switched to smaller vehicles, and covering the cost of damage should be built into the rate trucking companies are charging. Focus on the making changes that have the biggest payoff, and least effort.
Hawaii has an annual vehicle weight tax, for example. And the tolls here are kind of geared that way, with the four different levels of tolls on the Port Mann based on the size of the vehicle.
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  #37  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2017, 1:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Genauso View Post
The Massey bridge will be a P3, which is my point. The Liberals do not have the budget space to spend, so they are choosing a more expensive option that nominally keeps the debt off their books even though defaulting on the payments is not an option.

I think it's essential to replace the Massey tunnel, and I see the need for other improvements that will be worth more than they cost.

We're in a ship headed for the rocks, we passed the point of no return under Christy Clark's reign. Drilling holes below the waterline to slow the boat down before the crash does work in the sense it buys more time before sinking, but the consequence is that it guarantees sinking the ship.

Look at the ICBC's dividend and Hydro's water purchase account. The provincial government transfers money out of crown corporations at will, even if they have to go into debt at a higher interest rate to provide it. Then came the payday loan P3s when the crown corporation credit cards maxed out. The province doesn't want to say it, but they're not stingy out of ideology but because the money isn't there.

I guess we could still privatize liquor distribution, I'm not sure what the snafu was there.

I guess my point is the economy, taxation, and public funding in the province doesn't work any longer. We might as well start from scratch. The big RE industry won't like it at first, but we'll probably transition to municipal bonds financed by Development Cost Levies that charge $X/s.f. per category of new development until the new bridge/subway/etc. is paid off.

The upside is if that works well, we could have a more responsive system where projects go ahead when they become worth it, instead of depending on a bunch of disconnected governments coming together at the same time without any one using their power to stop or delay a project elsewhere to get what they want for themselves. The downside are all the cities in America that went bankrupt when people with little accountability played the system much like our provincial government is doing today where they set up huge failures for others to deal with in the future.

Part of the problem is that there isn't one problem. There is widespread economic stress. Reducing royalties and costs for gas, mining, forestry, fishing has not kept rural jobs even stable despite growing markets. One day everyone and everywhere will be doing a little better, so the number and scale of crises will vanish. Until then, it's balancing a million failures.

The pre-commencement period is getting longer, and the scope of work is getting smaller to not include where the lanes will head when Oak St bridge is still 2 lanes each way.
If we need the extra cash, we can always dust off the HST, and privatize ICBC and BC Liquor. (and potentially BC Hydro and FortisBC?)

But of course, politics is politics. Hard decisions tend not to be made until the last minute.


PPP isn't government debt. If government doesn't have a share in the company, the risk is placed to the public sector. Thus the government gets no debt, and the company that faced that risk is the one who pays up the debt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Genauso View Post
I know there's a difference the cost of building for peak vs average use.

I realize there may be some outliers that choose a commute that's significantly longer because they expect they'll save even more on the price of land.

But something that is forgotten, is that traffic isn't just kids driving up and down the street because gas is 5 cents/L and they have nothing better to do. It's not like a toll will reduce demand, as much as it will shift it.

Tolls shift demand because most people aren't thinking about driving most of the time they do it, it's automatic. Now you're asking them to gamble on paying a fee as one option for a set of uncertain experiences. I don't think price signaling will work until it's a closed loop where real-time traffic conditions are fed into your car so that it picks the best route for you.

I think we're talking about tolls right now because nobody wants to chip in more money, and that will be true whether you're talking about income taxes, gas taxes, gps-per-km tolls, bridge tolls. It's not a secret that land cost is leading Surrey's growth, and not booming jobs or amenities. We can talk about how great the economy is all day long on TV, but not being able to afford what was done easily in the past says a lot.


For now it'd be more practical to deal with weight/axle. Road wear is proportional to the weight^3 / area of contact patch. Maybe we could save some money if people switched to smaller vehicles, and covering the cost of damage should be built into the rate trucking companies are charging. Focus on the making changes that have the biggest payoff, and least effort.

I wonder what a fee based on kg&km driven would do to Translink, at what ridership level would it make sense to pick skytrain for a given line.
Unless America stops its obsession with everything big, that's not happening.

We try to distinguish ourselves from our neighbors to the south, but let's face it. The USA probably has more influence on us than we have on our ourselves.
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  #38  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2017, 1:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Genauso View Post
I know there's a difference the cost of building for peak vs average use.

I realize there may be some outliers that choose a commute that's significantly longer because they expect they'll save even more on the price of land.

But something that is forgotten, is that traffic isn't just kids driving up and down the street because gas is 5 cents/L and they have nothing better to do. It's not like a toll will reduce demand, as much as it will shift it.

Tolls shift demand because most people aren't thinking about driving most of the time they do it, it's automatic. Now you're asking them to gamble on paying a fee as one option for a set of uncertain experiences. I don't think price signaling will work until it's a closed loop where real-time traffic conditions are fed into your car so that it picks the best route for you.

I think we're talking about tolls right now because nobody wants to chip in more money, and that will be true whether you're talking about income taxes, gas taxes, gps-per-km tolls, bridge tolls. It's not a secret that land cost is leading Surrey's growth, and not booming jobs or amenities. We can talk about how great the economy is all day long on TV, but not being able to afford what was done easily in the past says a lot.


For now it'd be more practical to deal with weight/axle. Road wear is proportional to the weight^3 / area of contact patch. Maybe we could save some money if people switched to smaller vehicles, and covering the cost of damage should be built into the rate trucking companies are charging. Focus on the making changes that have the biggest payoff, and least effort.

I wonder what a fee based on kg&km driven would do to Translink, at what ridership level would it make sense to pick skytrain for a given line.
Charging by axle certainly makes a lot of sense. At this point it almost seems like a formulaic approach is needed taking into account vehicle weight, fuel economy, time used, and route taken.
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  #39  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2017, 3:23 AM
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Originally Posted by fredinno View Post
PPP isn't government debt. If government doesn't have a share in the company, the risk is placed to the public sector. Thus the government gets no debt, and the company that faced that risk is the one who pays up the debt.
I haven't read the Canada Line or Port Mann bridge contracts, but it's my understanding that the province guarantees them a minimum income. When the Port Mann is in the news for losing $### million last year, that means Translink is paying the P3 group that amount of money.

It really is the province on the hook, and paying a premium to go through a front man.
If we don't, or can't should the contract forbid it, allow a P3 project to go bust then of course they will spend as much as possible.
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  #40  
Old Posted Mar 3, 2017, 5:32 PM
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PPP isn't government debt. If government doesn't have a share in the company, the risk is placed to the public sector. Thus the government gets no debt, and the company that faced that risk is the one who pays up the debt.
...except private partners won't accept that level of risk, so in order to attract them the government has to guarantee revenues by stipulating the expected traffic volumes. When those volumes don't materialize, the government is on the hook for the difference.

What that effectively means is that the risk is still borne by the government, and because the debt is held by a private company it's more expensive to service. So when the predicted traffic volumes don't materialize we taxpayers end up paying more money than if the government held the debt.

The only real "benefit" is that the government gets to keep the debt off its books. It's a financial shell game, IMHO.
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