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October 27, 2017 3:49 pm

Premier Announces End of Tolls on Two Bridges

Friday, August 25, 2017 @ 10:21 AM

Prince George, B.C. – Premier  John Horgan  has announced that as of September 1st,  there will no longer be tolls on two bridges  in the Lower Mainland.

The tolls will be eliminated  for   the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges.

He says the  costs will be covered  through debt, “spread over a longer period of time.”

Currently, the toll to cross the Port Mann is $3.15 for cars, pickup trucks and SUVs, $6.30 for medium-sized vehicles, e.g., a car with a trailer or a motorhome, and $9.45 for commercial vehicles.

The toll to cross the Golden Ears is $3.20 to $4.45 for cars, pickup trucks and SUVs, $6.35 to $7.55 for medium-sized vehicles, and $9.45 to $10.70 for commercial vehicles.

Eliminating bridge tolls was a key plank  in the NDP platform .


That’s an interesting move. I’m surprised a government dead set against carbon use would remove tolls on a bridge leading to Vancouver. I like it though.

    The people (including major volumes of commercial traffic) avoiding the tolls are taking significant detours, creating longer and slower traffic queues and generally increasing carbon use .. so this move should improve traffic flow and reduce the carbon foot print

So the current government eliminates a disincecentive for single occupant vehicles to cross the bridges. Then they make the rest of the province (us) pay for the bad behavious of the spoiled lower mainland crowd. Typical NDP logic.

    Where does your single occupant disincentive argument come from? True, the HOV is tolled at a lower rate but still is tolled … most drivers take a longer detour and go for a free bridge … now that is truly ‘bad’ behaviour

Paying for the votes that the ndp got in Surrey and other lower mainland communities on this side of the Fraser. New West will be happy though as it should ease the truck traffic on the Pattullo by toll avoiders

The next payback will likely be the annual checks to renters. They tried to equate this with the home owners grant but I don’t see it. Home owners pay property and school taxes and get a grant for principal residence. At least make the renters contribute to the school system before giving them a rebate.

The quickly shrinking surplus they were handed. POOF all gone!

    “Home owners pay property and school taxes”

    I think that is a strange post coming from you sparrow.

    Apartment building owners pay property taxes as well, as do those who pay money to live in a room rental in a private house and those who pay rent on a house rented from the owner of the house.

    Part of that money is used by the owners of the property to pay property taxes on the assessed value of the property and its improvements.

    If I got that wrong, please let me know what I am missing.

      The owners of the rental properties can deduct any expenses incurred which is something a homeowner cannot do with the principal residence but get the grant in-lieu. If the landlord could not deduct expenses it would mean higher rent. So in essence under this proposal a renter would be getting the best of both worlds.

      At the end of the day I think the rent subsidy was blatant vote buying. The money would have been far better spent with incentives to developers to build more units for the rental market which would stabilize or even lower the average rent.

      Yes, you are right, to a certain extent.

      There are several scenarios in which an individual or couple, who are retired, do not have a taxable income from which to deduct property tax expenses off a rental property.

      Think of living in an owned home that is mortgage free, and having a second house which is also mortgage free, and putting the rent money into maintenance which can be deducted to the max.

      Values of both would, under normal circumstances, increase.

      Extend that scenario to several different optional branches and, in the end, the rent income would have to include the cost of the property tax, or the owner would have to reduce the money spent on upkeep and improvements.

I am pretty sure he has thoughts on how he can recoup this loss of income, multi times over, and it probably will affect the whole province so the lower mainland get their break.

    Watch for any announcements of the completion of the Cariboo Connector.

    I fully expect the money to be spent on that to slow down to assist with the removal of payments on the tolls.

    I wonder if the PPP contract has an escape clause and, if so, what sort of penalty there is. For starters, it would be the cost of installing the systems as well as layoff costs, office rental agreements, etc.

    Then we must not forget that the Province will be stuck with fixing the falling ice problem. I assume that the builder of the bridge and engineers would be paying through their liability insurance.

      At the announcement of the cancellation of tolls the minister responsible admitted that there would be jobs losses at TReO, the company that collects tolls. I seem to recall a piece on the news showing the big beautiful office that they had moved into, maybe for the remainder of the lease they can put in newly hired social service workers to process the income assistance claims for former TReO workers…….and former Site C workers…..and Kinder Morgan workers:(

      “Watch for any announcements of the completion of the Cariboo Connector.”

      Too bad that the Liberals did not complete the Cariboo Connector with borrowed money and then put a toll on it! You see, now the NDP could do the fair thing, cancel the toll and get all of the province taxpayers to help pay off the borrowed money!

      I think the principle that is generally followed is that if the route is the only route possible to take, then the transportation infrastructure is paid for through general revenue.

      If it is an alternate route, such as the Coquihalla, then they may chose to pay for it with tolls.

      97 is not really an option.

Andrew Weaver has called this decision a “reckless policy” ……trouble in the hen house as the two roosters start to scrap to see who rules the roost.

Will they kiss and make up or is an election in the offing.

    Weaver sold out his part to Horgan right after the election , he no longer has much pull no matter how much he says.

Horgan says the  costs will be covered  through debt, “spread over a longer period of time.”

So, unlike any wise homeowner who seeks to amortize his/her home purchase over the shortest amount of time in order to reduce the overall interest costs, Horgan chooses to extend the debt period, effectively adding MILLIONS if not more to the final cost of these bridges!

Good sound financial advice, courtesy of Horgan and the NDP!

Hang on to your wallets!

    Remember, the province has lower interest rates than the average home owner. The interest rate is very close to the inflation rate.

    When looking at construction costs only, inflation rates are significantly higher than the interest rates the government lending authorities have access to.

      Regardless of whether or not the province has lower interest rates than the average homeowner, the fact remains that the longer a loan is amortized, the more interest is paid!

      With the NDP running the show, I expect that the various bond rating agencies will be watching us and if the NDP drives our economy and debt into the toilet, I would expect that the bond rating agencies will downgrade our rating and this would result in higher interest rates on our provincial debt!

      I did say hang on to your wallets, didn’t I?

      I’d say Cheers, but this is nothing to be cheerful about!

The NDP makes a change in the south so the north can pay for it.

so what happens to all the tickets written for these bridges??? They get wiped away???

    Nope. Tolls, etc. are still in effect until the end of the month.

      And if you don’t pay you cannot renew your driver’s license.

    What tickets?

      people who cross the bridges in question get a bill, ( ticket if you like) , if they don’t pay, then ICBC and DMV is notified and you can not renew your car insurance or your driver’s licence until you pay the toll bill.

The cost of the Port Mann bridge ballooned from $1.5 Billion to $3.3 Billion.

The Port Mann Bridge loses $80 Million per year. Golden Ears Bridge loses $42 Million,. Traffic is down on both bridges because there are alternate routes that are free.

The Port Mann Bridge was another Liberal (Gordon Campbell) fiasco. Not very well thought out. Those who have benefited the most from this fiasco were the contractors who built the bridge.

Toll bridges for the most part are discriminatory. As an example if you live on the North Shore and work in Port Coquitlam, then you do not pay a toll. However if you live on the North Shore and work in Surrey you pay $1600.00 per year in tolls. Many people all over the lower mainland can travel most anywhere and not pay any tolls, while other people because of where they live and work pay tolls on a daily basis.

Bridges, Ferries, etc: should all be part of the highway system, and paid for by all tax payers in the Province.

Its interesting to see a political party actually implementing some of their election promises. The Liberals could learn something from this.

    So why are you discriminating against planes? Or inter urban buses?

    Anything that causes efficiency in travel should be subsidized by all of us…. ;-)

    Oh, and I forgot about skytrains and tube trains…….. and streetcars …. all are more efficient than individual cars.

    Oh, and how about videoconferencing facilities ….. and computers with skype … or smartphones with skype, etc. ….. don’t even leave your home…..

    And then home delivery service …. more effective for a single delivery vehicle to travel around with an order rather than hundreds of people in individual cars …

“The Port Mann Bridge loses $80 Million per year. Golden Ears Bridge loses $42 Million.”

They projected that they would collect a certain amount of toll money annually. The estimate was overly optimistic. So how are the bridges LOSING that much when they never got the money in the first place? It is the same as me planning to make a million but only ending up with 100k. So in fact I did not lose 900k, because I never had it.

    The cost of running the toll bridges, and the maintenance of the bridges are the same regardless of the number of people who use it. So less people using the bridge means less money to pay for the associated costs, plus pay the contractor (PPP).

      There are costs associated with the old bridges as well. The province covers the loss annually. Now the annual costs to cover will be in the 500 million plus mark. They are closing the legacy account and using it to pay the toll portion of the bridges for the next 3 years and then the big hit will come. This way they don’t have to increase the debt quite as much until the next election when the real money comes into effect. Good thing we had such a big surplus the last few years to pay for the NDPs promises to the lower mainland

      The bridge tolls were meant to eventually cover the annual costs not to be a cash cow and they were on that track

The bridges are losing that much money because the drivers drive a bit further and take a no-toll bridge. That was where the silliness occurred. Either toll ALL bridges or NO bridges … the Liberals chose to toll two bridges creating a nightmare of traffic flow … Logically, one can argue for tolling all bridges or no bridges … tolling a few is just plain silly

The comments above are all the plain and simple truth, well said by all!

The reason they built the new Port Mann bridge was because of the projected increase in traffic and that the old bridge would not be able to handle the volume.

This reasoning was made even though traffic on the old bridge had already started to decline.

We now have a new bridge at a cost of $3.5 billion and a big drop in daily usage. Some of this drop can be attributed to the tolls, however not all. Daily traffic has dropped by some 10,000 vehicles per day over the Port Mann bridge. Traffic overall has declined in most areas of North America.

Sooooo. Another example of poor forecasting and planning by our most esteemed Liberal Government.

    Not true, traffic has increased each year since the start of tolls

    Here are the monthly stats from the Bridge’s web site:

    Monthly Average
    Weekday Traffic 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
    January ……..95,200 92,200 96,900 103,000 112,000
    February……. 100,900 94,300 101,700 107,500 111,200
    March… 104,000 98,200 104,000 109,900 118,600
    April 106,400 101,400 105,000 116,600 122,500
    May 107,500 103,700 108,500 132,700 123,400
    June 108,900 106,300 112,300 139,100 127,800
    July 111,000 107,700 111,800 139,200 130,000
    August 112,700 110,600 112,100 140,400
    September 107,600 106,600 110,900 126,300
    October 07,000 104,700 110,900 120,500
    November 102,800 101,500 107,100 119,000
    December 95,000 97,500 104,100 108,700

    So, for the 5 year period that is available from 2013 to 2017 there is a 10 to 20% increase depending on which month one is looking at.

    So, where did your stats from Palopu ……???

    Why do we always have to fact check your stuff ….. kinda biased reporting …. you have relatives working at CNN??? …. ;-)

    These are the increases over the first 7 months in each of the 5 years of operations

    jan 17.6%
    feb 11.0%
    mar 14.0%
    apr 15.1%
    may 14.8%
    jun 17.4%
    jul 17.1%

    “We now have a new bridge at a cost of $3.5 billion and a big drop in daily usage”

    Palopu ….. explain please … did you get this from an NDP site?

    Enquiring minds want to know.

    The bridge itself cost less than a third of the over $3billion project cost.

    The bulk of the cost was for the Highway 1 upgrade of 37 kilometres.

    And, of course, they are continuing to upgrade that highway.

    We drove it at the beginning of the week again. Terrible traffic. A 4 lane highway going into the GVRD from Abbotsford is inexcusable.

      Just drove it yesterday. We were stopped on the highway a few times – from 90kmh to zero and back again… totally insane, they need another lane at all theareas where traffic enters the highway to prevent bottlenecks

Some of the cost savings will come from the province not having to pay for the camera upgrade on the golden ears bridge, which was coming with a high price tag

    There are no cost savings. Read the announcement, please.

    “The province expects to spend $132 million on costs associated with toll removal. This includes winding down the Transportation Investment Corporation – which oversees the Port Mann Bridge, its debt and tolling – and paying severance or penalties for cancelled contracts.”

    The camera upgrade is projected to be $5million.

    So, that cost avoidance means that the total cost for shutting down the tolling will be about $127 million.

    The population of BC is around 4.6 million. Of that, about 2.46 million live in the GVRD and 2.2million in the rest of the province.

    That means the rest of the province will be spending about $146 per average 2.5 person household size to shut the tolling down. Most of us will not use the bridge that much.

    Up the price of local (GVRD) gasoline a few more cents. If we travel to the GVRD, we can contribute through buying gas while down there.

    I am still waiting for the announcement of speeding up the Quesnel bypass, the Williams Lake bypass, the 100 mile bypass, the upgrading of the Duffy Lake road to a 4 lane highway, etc, so that the bottom left half of BC can pay for the top right half of BC …… ;-)

      How about the Quesnel bypass and the 4-laning of #97 South? Do not hold your breath! Perhaps by 2050?

      The removal of the toll charges on the bridges will also mean that about 180 employees will be out of work! I remember that the NDP was up in arms about *ripping up* contracts! What about *ripping up* the contract the province has with the Transportation Investment Corporation?

It was an election promise and he is making good on it. Now if only he would eliminate the 12 per cent tax on used vehicles sold privately that’d be nice.

    It was a stupid promise that affected mainly people living in 2 ridings.

    He gained the votes because many wanted change.

    Like Trump ….. people wanted change …. very few cared what that change was ….Make BC Great Again …. LOL.

    The 12 percent pst was to close a loophole that allowed private vehicles to be sold for less tax than dealers and new, this was in the works before the hst was even introduced. It is something dealers lobbied for and will remain unless Horgy gets angry emails from you and wants your vote

thats great, the rest of BC pays for the Vancouver bridges. lol

It worked and got those knuckleheads elected.

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