The mayors of Surrey and New Westminster want drivers to pay a toll before crossing the new Pattullo Bridge after it's built, but the New Westminster mayor says it isn't the final solution to help fund future projects in the region.

The mayors and Translink officials have agreed on a memorandum of understanding to pursue the toll for a new bridge. If the bridge isn't tolled, officials say that the resulting traffic will gridlock their city streets.

"The current tolling system is definitely not working and has actually led to greater congestion, so we've supported the new bridge to be a tolled structure," said Jonathan Cote, mayor of New Westminster.

Traffic on the 79-year old Pattullo bridge has increased from 60,000 to over 80,000 trips per day since the government implemented a toll for the Port Mann Bridge in January 2014, according to Cote.

But selective tolling for certain bridges won't work in the long term, he added.

"There's got to be a larger regional solution that's more equitable across the region."

A region-wide plan

Cote says it's time for all the mayors to talk about a plan that will reduce congestion for the whole region.

He says there could be a wide variety of options on the table, such as:

  • Tolling roads.
  • Tolling busy times of the day.
  • Lowering the price of tolls, but apply them to all Metro Vancouver bridges.

"Every municipality is going to have different opinions. The key is how can you create something that is fair across the region," said Cote.

To listen to the ful interview, click the link labelled: New West mayor on new Pattullo Bridge toll.