Originally Posted by Migrant_Coconut
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.
Originally Posted by Trainguy
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.
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.