The new Port Mann Bridge

The new Port Mann Bridge

Port Mann Bridge tolls to be revealed Wednesday

New Transportation Minister Mary Polak to make announcement, province has hinted at lower price to cross bridge

Drivers will be told tomorrow how much they’ll have to pay each time they cross the new Port Mann Bridge.

Transportation Minister Mary Polak will announce the details of the bridge’s tolls, expected to include an introductory discount, at 1 p.m. Wednesday in downtown Vancouver.

The province indicated last month it’s considering a lower introductory toll to reflect the fact only eight of the 10 lanes of the new bridge will be operational when it opens in December. The final two lanes can’t be used through 2013 while the old bridge is dismantled.

Base tolls were to be $3 for standard vehicles ($6 to $9 for larger trucks and $1.50 for motorcycles), but an extra $2.30 processing charge is added if payment isn’t made within several days and an invoice is mailed out. Vehicles will be detected by a decal-type transponder or licence plate cameras.

The electronic tolling system is to operate seamlessly with the one on TransLink’s Golden Ears Bridge.

NDP transportation critic Harry Bains said he would either lower or eliminate the tolls in the first year on the grounds motorists won’t be getting its full benefit yet.

“A lower toll or no tolls will be seen as a relief by South of the Fraser,” he said.

“Unless the entire bridge is not open I don’t think people should be asked to pay the full toll.”

But Bains also said it would be a “desperate attempt” by the government to shore up votes ahead of the May provincial election.

Lowering toll rates isn’t the only option before the province.

It could instead offer some sort of delayed rebate or set a monthly maximum that caps the amount of tolls B.C. drivers must pay.

The province previously said registered car pools will get a 25 per cent discount at peak periods only – that could be made more generous.

Heavy trucks were also promised a 50 per cent discount overnight.

Bains said the tolls as currently structured add up to $1,500 a year for a typical commuting driver who pays $3 each way.

That’s close to the $1,700 in provincial income tax the average working earning $45,000 pays.

“It almost doubles the income tax they pay to British Columbia,” he said.

But Bains noted any breaks Polak unveils will cut into the revenue and push back the timeline to repay the costs.

Tolls are required by law to cover the entire $3.3 billion cost of the Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement project over its 40-year contract – including construction, operation and maintenance by the private partners and the financing costs of the provincial government.

“You’ve got to be up front with the public,” he said. “It’s got to be paid. That’s the structure. There’s an agreement in place.”

Public unrest about tolls have led some drivers to vow to boycott the new span.

Some mayors – including Surrey’s Dianne Watts – have pressed the province to consider “fair tolling” reforms that would apply lower tolls at more bridges around the region, or else move to road pricing.

Drivers will be using part of the new bridge this month – three lanes will open eastbound starting Sept. 18 – due to the phased completion of construction of new interchanges.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Maple Ridge resident impressed with frontline workers when husband hurt

From police to health professionals, everyone who cared for injured senior deserves praise

Residents of Golf Lane say they are tired of their houses and vehicles being hit by golf balls from the nearby Maple Ridge Golf Course, and worry someone is going to get killed by a wayward drive. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Maple Ridge Golf Course neighbours say they need protection

City willing to explore solutions says director of parks

Former Pitt Meadows city councillor David Murray was convicted of sex assault, and is now being sued by the victim. (files)
Former Pitt Meadows city councillor sued for sex assault

David Murray was convicted in 2017 of sexually assaulting a teen 25 years earlier

Ineke Boekhorst with the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association says Sparkle has been a huge hit with downtown businesses. (The News files)
Maple Ridge business to get free Earth Day window cleaning

Event put on by the Downtown Maple Ridge BIA and Christian Life Assembly

Allen, Mel, and Trevor Leung pose on the Whitecaps field in Vancouver. (Special to The News)
Community rallies to support Maple Ridge man suffering from paralysis, kidney issues

GoFundMe set up to help Allen Leung and his family during difficult times

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Nick Warmerdam and his dog Diesel are inviting locals to check out the Lakeland Farm U-pick Flower Farm this spring. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford’s Lakeland Flowers opens for spring

Tulip farm attraction opened on April 14, open to the public daily seven days a week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

The female driver of this Jeep Grand Cherokee (right) was driving erratically with a young child inside on Highway 1 eastbound. After hitting a barrier and a parked car, she finally exited the highway at Yale Road West and came to a stop. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier, car on Hwy 1 in Chilliwack

Smoke seen coming from SUV as it continues to travel eastbound of shoulder of highway

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Most Read