Dr. Weaver is off base on tolls as well

With respect to Dr Weaver and the NDP/Green accord that ousted the BC Liberals from office, I believe that Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver is off base with his criticism on the NDP's toll elimination policy.

Dr Weaver makes two points that need to be addressed.

First, he says that eliminating tolls would add billions dollars to taxpayer supported debt. He is wrong. As early as 2009, the Auditor General raised a red flag on that very notion. Until tolls were supporting the actual debt of the bridge projects, classifying as the BC Liberals did was at best shady. But clearly wrong.

Second, he mentions that tolls are a way to manage transport demand. Well that argument falls apart when you see what happened to traffic flows on Port Mann and Golden Ears bridge. Traffic ended up being diverted by those unwilling to pay stiff fares to other free options. This meant, paradoxically, that drivers ended up driving further, driving longer, and ended up in high polluting traffic jams as they showed up at the smaller, 80 year old Pattullo Bridge.

But he is right about the need for better managed transport. There is a plan to build or replace critical transport infrastructure in the lower mainland, and a means to arrive at a coherent road/mobility pricing model. This means to let the Mayor's Council do their jobs. But this two toll bridge was not it.

Thankfully, the NDP/Green accord doesn't live or die on this matter. We have far more important issues to resolve.


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