News

Editorial: Road tolls could save TransLink

Toll booths in Dover, England - Getty Images
Toll booths in Dover, England
— image credit: Getty Images

Transit riders collectively groaned this week as TransLink announced a 10 percent fare hike for passengers in Metro Vancouver beginning Jan. 1, 2013.

The new fares will see $2.75, $4 and $5.50 for zones one, two, and three, respectively.

That means the return-trip cost of taking the SkyTrain from Surrey to Vancouver just increased by $260 a year (fare saver cards not included).

There are a number of reasons for riders to be frustrated with fare hikes, particularly those on fixed or low incomes.

TransLink has acknowledged part of the problem is lost revenue from fare evasion.

The public company estimates that costs them about $18 million a year, leading to a decision in 2010 to spend $171 million in fare gates at SkyTrain stations.

That means the fare gates will have to be operational for a full decade before the capital investment breaks even.

TransLink receives income from fares, property taxes, gas taxes, bridge tolls, and the province.

Despite a provincial performance audit completed in October that showed $41 million in savings, the latest numbers from the 2013 base plan show a projected funding gap of $472 million from 2013 to 2015.

TransLink analysts came up with a list of 10 possible funding solutions in February, including more fuel taxes, a regional carbon tax, road tolls, and other vehicle levies.

The fairest possible solution has to be road tolls. Anybody who has driven in South Delta during rush hour knows that we've reached a point of traffic capacity, and road tolls would put more people into buses.

Pay-per-use road tolls is something that's made in sense on U.S. highways for years, and works to fund road improvements without hitting up taxpayers.

Road tolls would have to be implemented in tandem with better transit services, however, as it would be senseless to incentivize an unreliable option.

Drivers who make the choice to live in Surrey and commute to Richmond should be paying a toll for their usage of Delta's infrastructure.

The proceeds of those tolls should go to help develop local, affordable transit choices.

—South Delta Leader

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Emission limits set for B.C. LNG producers
 
Schools ban ‘pimp, ho’ costumes
 
A glimpse at B.C.’s rich biodiversity
Old cars and our mortality
 
28th annual Toy Run roars through Fraser Valley
 
Surrey enforcer killed on the weekend
10 Days of Terror begins in Mission
 
Rai will run for NDP
 
Pipeline proponent to explore other options