PEI

How the bridge and ferry tolls could be reduced to $20 on P.E.I.

P.E.I. Sen. Percy Downe is urging the federal government to work with Premier Dennis King to reduce the tolls on the Confederation Bridge and Wood Island ferry to $20 for all vehicles.

Sen. Percy Downe says money could come from Investing in Canada Plan, allow Trudeau to fulfil town hall pledge

It currently costs $47.75 for most vehicles to cross the Confederation Bridge from P.E.I. to New Brunswick. (CBC )

P.E.I. Sen. Percy Downe is urging the federal government to work with Premier Dennis King to reduce the tolls on the Confederation Bridge and Wood Islands ferry to $20 for all vehicles.

The toll is currently $47.75 for most vehicles on the Confederation Bridge and $79 for the ferry. Drivers only pay when leaving the Island.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Downe suggested the federal government use unspent and unallocated federal infrastructure funding to enable a reduction in tolls.

Money from federal fund

He said the $180 billion Investing in Canada Plan has been "grossly undersubscribed," and some of that money could be dedicated to "improving access to existing infrastructure in order to reduce the export costs for Prince Edward Island businesses and the travel costs for Islanders, in addition to significantly improving the tourism industry in our province."

In a news release, Downe said reducing the tolls on the Confederation Bridge to $20 would cost less than the government's estimated annual cost of $168.4 million for the Champlain Bridge in Montreal, which has no toll.

"By way of comparison, the annual federal subsidy to both Confederation Bridge and the Wood Island ferry was approximately $77.4 million last year. Add to that the estimated $55.5 million in toll revenue for both the bridge and the ferry, and the $132.9 million total is still far less than the annual $168.4 million cost of the Champlain Bridge," he said.

Downe pointed to comments Trudeau made during a town hall meeting in 2017. Trudeau said his government "will look at what can be done to make sure that people are able to travel freely, travel efficiently and openly across this country at modest costs."

Downe said reducing the tolls on the bridge and ferry tolls on P.E.I. to $20 would allow him to achieve that commitment. He said working with King's new government presents a "perfect opportunity."

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