A vision of Vancouver’s pay-to-drive future


Road tolls, carbon taxes and a smorgasbord of new fees are all being considered to help pay for mass transit in greater Vancouver. But according to a confidential report obtained by the Vancouver Sun, regional and provincial bureaucrats will recommend “a comprehensive road pricing scheme” as the best option to fuel Translink’s growing funding needs.

From the story:

A copy of the document obtained by The Sun says the move to road pricing could be implemented in various ways, including by tolling major water crossings, tolling entry and exit points to defined areas of Metro Vancouver — possibly varying by time of day — or by tracking and charging for total kilometres driven. All these options were given high or fairly high ratings on all four criteria taken into account: the impact on people’s transportation choices, the impact on families and the economy, fairness and transparency, and the ability to generate and sustain revenues.

Road tolls may well make sense. As exorbitant house prices in Vancouver’s core push new residents further and further out, the need to bring them back in for work and play will only grow. Mass transit is the best way to make that happen, but Translink doesn’t have the money to keep up with growth. Tolls can both take drivers off already over-stressed roads and bring in money to build and maintain better fixed links between sub- and urban Vancouver.

On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine either the NDP or the Liberals embracing that kind of idea in an election year. It’s the kind of thing that could fly in the core, where bike-friendly, organic juice magnate Gregor Robertson rules supreme. But try door-knocking in Surrey on that kind of platform if you want another opinion.

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A vision of Vancouver’s pay-to-drive future

  1. Surrey is actually fertile ground for reform to the tolling system. The mayor of Surrey, with plenty of local support, has demanded a “fair tolling policy.” By the end of this year, tolls will already apply on two out of three bridges into Surrey (Golden Ears, Port Mann) with the Pattullo expected to follow when it is rebuilt. Meanwhile, people who live in Delta dread the huge flow of east-west traffic expected to shift south in order to cross for free at the untolled Alex Fraser Bridge. Road pricing would address issues of inequity and the inefficient traffic distortions created by piecemeal tolling. So there’s relatively less downside for Surrey residents than for motorists in Vancouver and the North Shore. 

  2. The Translink black hole  is actually much worse than you realize.

    You will soon see, as supported by or as he puts it ‘preferred’ by North Vancouver District mayor Walton, comprehensive ‘road pricing’ ( another euphemism).  What that means is.. you pay if your car moves (and not by gas tax).  They are going to try to legislate that every car, truck, oil fueled vehicle in Metro Vancouver will, by law, be required to have a GPS monitoring device installed in order to be legal.  The GPS device is NOT to help you find a route to places, it is a device that is monitored 24 hrs per day by GOVERNMENT to allow it to calculate a PER KILOMETRE charge for every vehicle.  Tolls, highways, side roads all have a price per kilometre which may change by time of day.  In order to do this, they need to know your whereabouts every moment of the day or night.  Google GPS NETHERLANDS ROAD TAX and see.  This is Orwellian and needs to be resisted with vigour.

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