Road pricing? Are they kidding?
Having failed to win the fight in the 2015 plebiscite to secure a .5 per cent increase in the provincial sales tax, toward paying the bills for transportation projects, TransLink and the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation is getting creative, some might say, in its pursuit of our much-coveted, increasingly scarce buck.
They’ve set up a Mobility Pricing Commission with the clear intention of inflicting yet another fee on already financially burdened ratepayers – at least those who happen to drive on local roads, which is pretty nearly all of us.
This commission’s report will be done in April, when we will learn what it has to say on options such as distance-based road tolling and “congestion point” tolling. Essentially, the more you drive, the more you pay.
A driving tax.
Consider this scenario: a single mom in Surrey needs to take her child to the children’s hospital in Vancouver. Her tax money is paying for that hospital, she’s paying through her nose for gas, her ICBC premiums are likely outrageous, and now they’re looking at throwing a road-use fee at her? That’s a pricey trip.
Expect a pilot project – we all know that pilot projects generally become permanent projects.
Premier John Horgan has told the mayors his government’s verdict is reserved on whether this will fly, and if so, in what form. He has to know that sticking motorists with a road-pricing scheme months after removing bridge tolls will appear to be a cynical move and likely as popular as photo radar was for the NDP government of the 1990s.