Posted on Aug 21, 2020
UCP MUST SAY NO TO TOLLS: NDP
EDMONTON – Jason Kenney and the UCP government are telling municipalities that their roads and bridges will be built faster if they agree to impose tolls on Albertans who use them.
In a series of tweets issued Thursday afternoon, Transportation Minister Ric McIver announced he is considering a request from Mackenzie County and the La Crete and Area Chamber of Commerce to finance a new bridge to replace the La Crete ferry at Thompkins Crossing over Peace River with tolls on residents and industry who use Highway 697 to cross the river. The Alberta NDP Caucus believes this approach could set a dangerous precedent for future projects across the province.
“This pressure tactic sends the message to municipalities that their project will go to the back of the UCP’s list unless they’re willing to impose tolls on their residents,” said Transportation Critic Rod Loyola. “This forces economically struggling communities into an impossible choice - do without critical transportation or let Jason Kenney pick the pockets of their families and small businesses even more.”
“If the UCP didn’t give away $4.7-billion dollars to profitable corporations, it could build this much-needed bridge project without tolls. The UCP has to find another way. Albertans don’t want to be forced to pay a fee every day just to get to work or pick their kids up from school while CEOs and shareholders get handouts.”
Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley warned Albertans that the UCP would start looking at using road tolls to finance transportation projects during the last election. At the time, Jason Kenney suggested Alberta should “follow the lead of Asia and Europe” and implement user pay infrastructure models.
“Let’s be clear, road and bridge tolls don’t get infrastructure projects built faster or for less money. All they do is protect the government’s books while imposing yet another new tax on Albertans trying to make a living. They’re not ‘creative’, they’re just unfair,” said Loyola.
If approved, the project is expected to cost $200 million. It would be the only consumer toll bridge in Alberta.