The subject of road pricing was on the agenda Thursday night at a public forum in Surrey, where people were divided on whether that approach is the solution to their congestion woes.
On Monday, the Canadian Ecofiscal Commision released a report calling for a conversation surrounding tolls on bridges and busy routes across the lower mainland and other major Canadian cities.
“Our idea is that you might try tolls on the bridges that get you into the central core,” said Chris Ragan, the commission’s chair and lead on the report.
Ragan says local and provincial governments could consider a pilot project to test the idea.
WATCH: Traffic congestion is a problem in cities across Canada. But a new report says we’re not tackling it the right way. Mike Armstrong looks at whether it’s time to put an economic value on our roads, especially during peak times.
“Well it’s certainly something that is worth studying,” said Bruce Hayne, a councillor with the city of Surrey.
“Congestion pricing pricing is something that our former mayor [Dianne] Watts was advocating years ago and continues to.”
About 60 people attended the forum, held at SFU Surrey. Some said the idea of tolling all the bridges is a good one. Others aren’t quite convinced yet.
“The new bridges I understand, but to toll all the bridges, I think they’re just trying to create revenue,” said Ken Hunter, a commuter who’s often found himself stuck in traffic.
However, Ragan points to other cities across North America, such as Minneapolis, where drivers have the choice of paying to use high occupancy toll [HOT] lanes.
“What they found there is that it reduces traffic congestion. The HOT lanes travel quickly but the non HOT lanes – let’s call them the cold lanes – they travel faster too,” he said.
“Let’s start a conversation about policies that work elsewhere and probably would work here if we gave it the good old college try.”