BC Liberal Transportation critic Jordan Sturdy and Finance critic Shirley Bond are concerned that today’s toll-elimination announcement by the NDP does not consider the long-term financial implications and effects on British Columbia’s AAA credit rating.
“Immediately removing tolls from these two bridges is going to cost $132 million this fiscal year,” said Sturdy. “We know that it will cost at least $135 million per year for the foreseeable future to cover lost tolling revenue just on the Port Mann Bridge. The government also hasn’t indicated how much revenue will be lost from the TransLink-owned Golden Ears Bridge and who will pay the bill.”
“The Premier himself said today that people shouldn’t have to pay tolls based on where they live,” said Bond. “Transferring the debt from these bridge projects to the province is essentially telling northern and interior British Columbians that their tax dollars will be subsidizing Metro Vancouver commuters.”
“Just this week, the Finance Minister committed to balancing the books and adhering to prudent financial management. It appears those comments were short-lived as the NDP government doesn’t seem concerned about the bottom line considering their big-spending announcements lack an actual implementation plan,” said Bond. “We can only hope this announcement doesn’t affect British Columbia’s AAA credit rating.”
Also concerning is the 180 jobs that are going to be impacted and the $12 million the government is going to spend to basically eliminate these jobs. It’s hard to take the NDP seriously when they say they want to make life more affordable and sustainable for British Columbians, considering most of their recent announcements have or will result in job losses and huge debt increases.”
“We understand affordability in Metro Vancouver and the Lower Mainland is a huge concern for people and we support responsible spending decisions to alleviate those stresses on families,” said Sturdy. “But we also want to make sure that we are not leaving behind an unnecessary, massive level of debt for our future generations to pay off.”