British Columbia

Taxpayers off hook for toll shortfall

TransLink says taxpayers will not be on the hook for a revenue shortfall through tolls on the Golden Ears Bridge.
As fewer people than expected use the Golden Ears Bridge, the CBC's Aarti Pole reports on how TransLink will likely make up the difference 1:57

TransLink says taxpayers will not be on the hook for a revenue shortfall through tolls on the Golden Ears Bridge.

Revenue for 2011 is projected to be close to $38 million, higher than 2010 revenues.

But TransLink, which has provincial authority for the bridge, is facing rising costs in payments to the builder and bridge operator.

TransLink spokesperson Ken Hardie said the gap is substantial.

"By the end of 2011, we expect a $63 million gap, a deficit we will be able to cover through savings, through other capital programs and reserves.  The key thing right now is that there is no exposure to the taxpayer.  We're not going to come looking for more money to cover the gap on the Golden Ears Bridge," Hardie said.

Tolls on the Golden Ears Bridge will not cover payments to the builder and operator in 2011. ((Matthias Goetz/Golden Ears Bridge))

Hardie said the lifespan of the Golden Ears project is 30 years and TransLink expects toll revenue will increase over time to cover all costs.

The bridge opened in June 2009 after three years of construction costing $800 million. It connects the communities of Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, north of the Fraser River, with Surrey and the Trans-Canada Highway on the south.