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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tolling for Trouble


March 13, 2012

Living in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia could become even more expensive if all major routes become 'toll' roads. 

Mayor Dianne Watts from Surrey is proposing tolling all routes in and out of Vancouver in a way to help with the deficit and essentially make the tolls even for everyone. 

Right now, the Golden Ears Bridge is currently tolled and the soon to open new Port Mann Bridge will also be tolled. With discussions of a new Pattulo Bridge (also rumored to be tolled) it seems that citizens in the Fraser Valley are being punished for living in the burbs.

When the Sea-to-Sky was revamped for the 2010 Winter Olympics it should have been tolled. That highway is for the 'rich and famous'. It's majestic stroll through the cut out mountain leading to Whistler is one of the most picturesque drives here on the west coast but to be fair, it needs to be tolled. 

Conservationists speak of preserving the environment and not being reliant on gas, but they are the ones that live in Vancouver proper and can utilize the 'transit' system. The transit system is substandard out here in the Valley, yet we (Fraser Valley residents) continue to pay our taxes and tolls to support a system that isn't really viable. 

I live near to a West Coast Express station and yet the trains run limited in the mornings and evenings only during the week. Where is the logic with that? Most people would enjoy a leisurely train ride into Vancouver and avoid the disgusting cost of parking, congested traffic and nerve racking driving of 'less skilled' drivers. 

Extend the service of the West Coast Express to 7 days a week, all day long and that alone will give Fraser Valley residents another option to driving. 

Even without adding the above mentioned idea, the tolls on ALL the bridges and Sea-to-Sky make sense. Economically speaking, it is a guaranteed source of income for the government. The tolls can be used to improve health care, maintain the bridges and roads, improve transit or dare I say it, even lower our debt load.

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