British Columbia

Massey tunnel's replacement with tolled bridge unfair, Delta MLA says

One Delta politician is concerned tolls for the new Massey tunnel replacement bridge will put the economic burden of the project on the shoulders of those who live south of the Fraser River.

Tolls on the new bridge will cost residents south of the Fraser about $1,500 per year says South Delta's MLA

An artist's rendering portrays the future deck of the bridge to replace the George Massey Tunnel south of Vancouver. B.C. Premier Christy Clark promised work will start on the new bridge between Richmond and Delta by 2017. (CBC)

A Delta politician is concerned tolls for the new bridge replacing the Massey tunnel will put the economic burden of the project on the shoulders of those who live south of the Fraser River.

The project announced Wednesday will span the south arm of the Fraser River linking Delta to Richmond and would be B.C.'s largest tolled bridge.

 Vicki Huntington, the MLA for Delta South, says that while the bridge is an "extremely exciting project" for the region, more public consultation is needed.

"This will be almost like trapping the people south of the Fraser into an economic burden of $1,500, $2,000, $2,500 a year. That's a lot of money," she said.

An unfair burden

Huntington is calling on the provincial government to spread the cost of the $3.5 billion bridge more evenly across the region.

"They haven't talked to the public at all about his decision ... It's not fair and they have to start figuring out other ways to balance and create an equitable approach to road pricing."

Delta is still in the early stages of commercial and industrial development and Huntington says until more Delta residents can find work without commuting across the river, tolls would be "unfair."

"Until the economy diversifies and more and people are able to work closer to home, you can't place these kind of burdens on the populus."

Toll more bridges

Huntington says one possible solution is to put a small toll on all bridges in the Lower Mainland, including those connecting Richmond to Vancouver.

"It'll be a difficult thing to consider — how many people use the Oak Street Bridge, the Granville Street Bridge — but it's got to be done."

Bridges that remain free will become more congested, she added, pointing to existing traffic problems.

"The traffic will divert to the Alex Fraser and create a horror show at that bridge because we know it's diverting there from the Port Mann."

Construction of the new bridge is expected to begin in 2017 and is slated to open in 2022.


To listen to the full audio, click the link labelled: Concerns about toll bridge to replace Massey Tunnel.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly quoted Vicki Huntington on the costs of a bridge toll for residents living south of the Fraser by misplacing a decimal point.
    Dec 17, 2015 3:29 PM PT

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