09/20/2012 03:21 EDT | Updated 09/20/2012 03:30 EDT

Port Mann Bridge Tolls: Pain Should Not Be Shared, Says Columnist


A Vancouver columnist is stirring up debate with his argument that people who choose to live in the suburbs with a “white picket fence” south of the Fraser are responsible for bearing the cost of the Port Mann Bridge.

Daniel Fontaine took issue Thursday with a proposal led by Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts that tolls on the Golden Ears and Port Mann be lowered, and then the revenue loss should be balanced with the introduction of levies on older spans such as the Granville or Oak Street bridges.

Watts and some of her regional colleagues believe their residents are being unfairly subjected to the tolls on the Port Mann.

“Living in the suburbs clearly comes with many advantages. You get the white picket fence, a backyard built for a German Shepherd plus homes priced at least 20 per cent lower than in Vancouver,” writes Fontaine in 24 Hours.

“But it is high time local politicians understand that living in sprawling suburban neighbourhoods must come with a price. And that’s going to come in the form of bridge tolls to pay for this new infrastructure.”

Sarah Arboleda tweeted: “Suburban living comes at enough of a price already. Check your privilege.” She later added, “Surrey residents shouldn't have to take a hit because other people choose to pay artificially bloated rent and mortgage prices.”

James Plett pointed out: “Surrey is hardly a suburb. Largest city geographically and 2nd largest by pop in BC, set to take Vancity.”

The Port Mann toll issue is already a prickly one as the B.C. government announced a first-year, reduced rate of $1.50 per crossing amid a budget deficit. The world’s widest bridge is part of a $3.3 billion project that also includes improvements to Highway 1.

Here's a snippet of the thought-provoking debate on Twitter:

Port Mann Tolls, Share The Pain

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