PEI

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take Confederation Bridge toll concerns to Island MPs

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged the Confederation Bridge is “an expensive bridge to cross” and will take the matter up with Island MPs.

Confederation Bridge 'an expensive bridge to cross,' PM acknowledges

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question from a Prince Edward Island woman during a town hall meeting in Peterborough, Ont., Friday. (CBC)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged the Confederation Bridge is "an expensive bridge to cross" and will take the matter up with Island MPs.

Trudeau was responding to a question Friday from an Island woman attending Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., where the prime minister was holding a town hall forum.

Pasha Bowser, a Summerside native, said her grandfather lives in New Brunswick, and when he fell ill her father was crossing the bridge three times a week to take care of him.

"Is there anything the federal government can do … to help alleviate the cost for Islanders?" she asked Trudeau.

The Confederation Bridge costs $46.50 to cross for most vehicles. (Canadian Press)

The prime minister responded by acknowledging the Confederation Bridge "was an expensive bridge to build and it's an expensive bridge to cross."

"I absolutely understand your preoccupation with being able to be there for sick family members, being able to support your family and I appreciate the challenges you're facing," he said.

We 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.— Justin Trudeau

"Certainly I will make sure that I pass along my concerns — your concerns — to our Islander MPs and we 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."

Comparison with Montreal bridge 'doesn't quite work'

Trudeau added that the comparison with Montreal's Champlain Bridge — which is free to cross — "doesn't quite work."

"The Champlain Bridge is a replacement bridge," he said. "There is an existing bridge that doesn't have a toll on it and it is a federal responsibility because it's over the St. Lawrence seaway."

Trudeau joked that if Montreal had its way, the bridge would be so low that every ship travelling the St. Lawrence to the Great Lakes would have to stop and unload in Montreal.

"I'm kidding, of course, but that's why the federal government has a responsibility for making sure that bridge is high enough that the St. Lawrence seaway is fully active and successful so the comparison doesn't quite work on this," he said.

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