News

Pay-as-you-go road pricing model unfair

Editor, The News:

I, for one am tired of hearing about how all bridges should be tolled since the tolls were introduced to the new Port Mann Bridge.

Why is the road and transit burden put on drivers who are unfortunate to have to cross a bridge to which a service was once free?

All roads, highways, freeways, overpasses, back lanes had to be built and require maintenance.  This financial burden should be shared by all motorists.

The politicians suggest a ‘low fee’ on the ‘toll every bridge’ idea to get the people to accept.  But watch out, those low fees will inflate to ridiculous prices in a short amount of time.  It’s a no-brainer that we’re all tired of paying new fees to inject into this ‘surging economy’ just to provide new jobs and services. After all, why am I paying school fees on my property taxes when I have no kids? I’m subsidizing schools and other public social programs, yet I’m expected to pay as I go?  To be fair, shouldn’t people who have kids pay a school tax for each child?

The pay-as-you-go model with tolls and road pricing is an unfair idea. Why is it that a transit rider who buys a monthly pass can ride as much as she wants with one flat rate, where it is suggested that each time a driver, who pays high insurance rates and gas prices (that are already subsidizing TransLink) has to pay each time for use?

In small towns, where there is a very little economic infrastructure (meaning not a whole lot of good paying local jobs), drivers are forced to the main cities to work, therefore having to cross the bridge every single day, sometimes twice a day.

This is where a vehicle levy makes sense as this gives drivers a flat rate.  But the levy cannot be a flat rate charge across the Lower Mainland. This too would be unfair.  The levy should be regional by districts. Why should someone in Delta, Maple Ridge or Squamish, where there are very little transit options, pay the same levy as someone living in Vancouver, where they have access to SkyTrain, Seabus and many busy routes?

People living in larger cities who have other alternatives should pay a higher levy.

With the levy on drivers, they too should also receive some benefits. Taxes on the fuel should be removed, and also anyone who does insure a vehicle should receive free amount of tickets of free ridership on transit.

After all, motorists are the only reliable source of income to transit.

This could also attract people to move from their cars to transit.

TransLink also needs to feel a pinch. Executives have no right to receive bonuses in a monopoly. TransLink should not be able to expand until it has also put in safeguards where people actually do pay for ridership.

If this had been implemented since Expo 86, we’d probably be in a better financial position.

With this being said, whatever decision is ultimately made, the government should be held in a contract that the rates be set in stone for 10 years.

Who can plan a financial future with these radically fluctuating (mostly increasing) rates?

Rob Nemec

Maple Ridge

 

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