Last week the Province of British Columbia announced that the Coquilhalla, (previously the only toll road in BC), was to become toll free. As if this doesn’t sound like a pre-election ploy to build popularity…
“Removing the tolls on the Coquihalla Highway puts money back in the pockets of commuters, tourists and truck drivers who regularly drive this highway,” Campbell says. “This will translate into savings of hundreds of dollars each year for the average regular user, and thousands of dollars for the truck drivers who rely on this important transportation route.
He says without the tolls people will be more likely to travel the highway, and that is good news to the communities in the Interior of B.C. He says the construction of the highway helped make the Okanagan one of the fastest growing areas in the province.
“This is a major step forward for British Columbia and will be a big help for business,” he says. “We have to keep our economy moving forward.”
The Money Game and Big Infrastructure
[ad#200-left]Keeping the economy moving forward is one thing, (although I’m not sure how removing an annual revenue collected by the tolls worth approximately $57 million is good for the province). If this is how we are moving to support the future of the roads network, when roads and infrastructure through the rest of the province are in disrepair, I’m not sure I get it. Note that the ministry responsible has recently been renamed, as the Ministry for Transportation and Infrastructure, ironic that finally the Provincial government is insisting that someone other than municipalities should be looking at the bigger picture of infrastructure funding, operations and maintenance. And with this new ministry responsibility, have there been a slew of positions offered? Unlikely.
This is a political game involving public assets worth hundreds of billions of dollars, all depreciating every year, and so far, no one in senior levels of government have come up with any way to fund the necessary repairs, replacement and renewal of the infrastructure we as residents take for granted each and every day.
When will infrastructure become a priority for senior levels of Government? By the way – money talks. Taking a guaranteed revenue source and trashing it for the sake of a few votes is particularly short sighted, but we’ve come to accept that as the norm.