Posted on Nov 3, 2020
KENNEY’S NEW TOLL ROAD THE FIRST OF MANY FOR ALBERTA DRIVERS
EDMONTON - By imposing tolls on a bridge planned for Tompkins Crossing near La Crete, Jason Kenney is breaking a campaign promise and opening the door to widespread tolls on drivers across Alberta.
Bill 43, Financing Alberta’s Strategic Transportation Act creates a new statute that allows for all future highway infrastructure projects in the province - including the widening of a highway, or widening of a bridge - to be designated as a toll highway as long as the Minister has first notified the public of the intent, and received feedback on the proposed toll project. The Bill further allows for the Government to enter into an agreement with a person or company to design, build, finance, maintain or operate a toll highway, and to establish, charge, collect, and enforce the tolls for that highway.
“Make no mistake; Tompkins Crossing is the first of Jason Kenney’s toll roads, but it will not be the last,” said Rod Loyola, NDP Opposition Critic for Transportation. “This is another of Kenney’s dishonest ways of making life more expensive for Alberta families to pay for his $4.7-billion corporate handout.”
In an August 20 letter to Mackenzie County, Transportation Minister Ric McIver said “the current and projected car and truck traffic is not high enough to justify the cost of building a bridge today, which is estimated at nearly $200 million. Put bluntly, this bridge is not something that the province can afford to build in the ten or twenty years, if at all.”
But if the bridge was tolled, McIver wrote, construction could start next year.
“This is almost like blackmail,” said Loyola. “McIver says a project he couldn’t justify building can jump to the front of the queue if the community submits to tolling. This sends a clear message to municipalities across Alberta that their critical economic projects will drop down the priority list unless they submit to tolls. We’re going to see many more of these toll roads.”
During the 2019 election campaign, Jason Kenney and the UCP vehemently denied that they would impose tolls on Alberta drivers, and called accused the NDP of “fearmongering” for arguing they would.
“Albertans are paying more income taxes, more property taxes, more schools fees, more tuition, more camping fees and more for photo radar tickets to pay for Jason Kenney’s $4.7-billion corporate handout. Soon Alberta families and small businesses will be paying out-of-pocket tolls simply to drive to work, to school, or to operate their businesses.
“Our highways have always been available to all Albertans to freely go about their lives. Now Jason Kenney is forcing Albertans to pay twice through higher taxes and new tolls,” Loyola said.