The Surrey Board of Trade is initiating an education and advocacy program in support of Mobility Pricing as the preferred option for funding future infrastructure and transit projects and calls for a coordinated regional tolling policy for all existing transportation infrastructure and all future transportation infrastructure.
“Coordinated regional planning for infrastructure and tolling policy is desperately needed to ensure that no area is unduly penalized by unequal tolling practices,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade. “The movement of goods and services will be severely impacted when business and commuters are driven to use the only non-tolled options because the alternative is too expensive for small business bottom lines and average family budgets.”
On January 7th the Surrey Board of Trade, in partnership with the South Surrey/White Rock Chamber of Commerce, surveyed their members about the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project. The survey was enhanced with questions about funding models for the George Massey Tunnel replacement and the impending Pattullo Bridge replacement specifically.
The analysis of the responses indicates that more education is needed regarding Mobility or Road Pricing and the SBOT will host a Surrey Leadership Dialogue event to assist in that process on April 8, 2016 from 7:30-9:30a.m. at Eaglequest Golf Course.
While more members supported an individual toll as the preferred method for funding any specific new infrastructure over mobility pricing, 60% of respondents supported adding tolls to existing infrastructure in support of new infrastructure and ongoing maintenance. 34.5% did not support tolls on existing infrastructure and 5.5% were not concerned about new tolls on existing infrastructure.
Current provincial legislation requires a plebiscite for any new funding streams proposed for TransLink infrastructure projects but not for provincial projects such as the George Massey Tunnel replacement. Without a combined effort of provincial and regional transportation authorities leading a sustained educational campaign, voter support for any required regional funding increase will be unlikely to succeed.