Port Mann project tolls: Highway users will be getting a free ride
The Port Mann/Highway 1 project is improving the highway from Langley to Vancouver. However, as per the Port Mann/Highway 1 website, all of the project cost is being recovered by tolls on the Port Mann Bridge.
The website says that the project is expected to cost $3.3 billion. The Port Mann Bridge is costing $775 million, less than one-quarter of the total project cost, but the users of the Port Mann Bridge are being asked to bear the full cost of the Port Mann project. This is totally unfair.
Options? For Highway 407 in Toronto, the tolls are charged based on kilometres driven on the highway. This is a fair system. There could be a slightly higher charge for using the Port Man Bridge, but it is not fair that the rest of the people benefitting from the highway improvement project get a free ride and the people using the Port Mann get stuck with the bill. The rest of the highway costs $2.5 billion. The government could install cameras at all exits and charge a toll to all users.
Another alternative would be to recover part of the toll through higher licence plate charges and a higher gas tax. It is unfair to solely single out the users of the Port Mann Bridge and ask them to bear the full cost, when their share of the project is less than 25 per cent of the total cost.
The government should not take a shortcut. It should adopt a way to spread the costs to all users who are benefitting, may be by using a combination of some or all of the above options.
Rafik Karwa, Surrey