Tolling reform proponents fear the Alex Fraser Bridge will be unusable if it ends up the last free crossing of the Fraser River in Metro Vancouver.

Surrey Board of Trade urges tolling reform

Business group supports plan for new Massey Bridge, but wants fair, consistent bridge tolls as well

The replacement of the Massey Tunnel with a new toll bridge must come with reforms to make tolling consistent and fair across the region, according to the Surrey Board of Trade.

The business group has come out in support of the proposed 10-lane bridge but is also strongly urging the province to begin the dialogue on road pricing reforms so drivers don’t jam traffic by trying to use a dwindling number of untolled bridges.

“Coordinated regional planning for infrastructure and tolling policy is desperately needed to ensure that no area is unduly penalized by unequal tolling practices,” CEO Anita Huberman said.

“What we’re telling the province is to start the dialogue immediately. We can’t wait.”

Various flavours of road pricing have already been suggested, from smaller tolls on all existing bridges to per kilometre road use fees, perhaps varying by time of day and degree of congestion.

Huberman said she hopes there is political will provincially to explore what change is needed and make it happen.

She said the livability of the Metro Vancouver region is at stake as the population grows, as well as the ability to attract new business.

“If our costs on this side of the bridge or the river continue to increase, it’s going to compromise our economy,” Huberman said.

A Surrey Board of Trade survey with the South Surrey/White Rock Chamber of Commerce last month found 60 per cent of respondents supported adding tolls to existing untolled bridges to help finance replacements and support ongoing maintenance. It found 34.5 per cent opposed.

The province’s current tolling policy says tolls can only be added to new infrastructure and only when a reasonable untolled alternative exists.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone has said that policy will likely have to change if both the new Massey Bridge and the replacement Pattullo Bridge are tolled, as proposed by the province and TransLink respectively, to keep too much traffic from piling up at the free Alex Fraser Bridge.

Stone has yet to deliver a previously promised tolling policy review, but he has encouraged discussion about toll reforms as part of the Massey replacement consultations.

Two open houses were conducted last week and comments on the Massey Bridge proposal are being accepted until Feb. 15.

The Surrey Board of Trade will lead a forum on the road pricing on April 8.

Just Posted

Langley hosting high-flying fun at annual gymnastics tournament

Action runs Friday through Sunday at the Langley Events Centre fieldhouse.

BREAKING: Plecas won’t run in next election if legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Langley Secondary students rehearse upcoming musical comedy

The Langley Secondary Musical Theatre Company presents Guys and Dolls on Feb. 22.

Guatemala mission offers hope, health

Peninsula team to visit remote villages, build a home, in Piedra Blanca

Annual Aldergrove Fair announces 2019 theme: ‘Aldy on the Moon’

The fair is gathering space memorabilia as well as some of the people involved in the space program.

VIDEO: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Flying squirrels found to glow pink in the dark, including two from B.C.

Squirrels from Hope and Abbotsford were included in the biologists’ database

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Man taken to hospital for smoke inhalation, burns after fire at RV park

Firefighters find man suffering from smoke inhalation, burns to face and hands: battalion chief

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

Liberals have had three veterans-affairs ministers — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould

Most Read