Is the Grass Greener on the Other Side of the Fraser River?

Last night I was asked if I wanted to sit shot-gun (Sorry CSIS) and travel across the brand new Golden Ears Bridge that just opened crossing the Fraser River connecting Langley Township and Maple-ridge together. I declined. My friend was a little taken back with my decision, but he accepted it and then went on his marry way.

I passed on the offer because I made it my mission to boycott the new bridge as long as possible, even right now while it is free. And yes, you heard me correctly, it is a toll bridge of which after the first month you’ll be asked to shell out a  fee of $3.90 for the right to pass. Now, I should also point out that my boycott is primarily based on my need of not crossing because I really have no reason to travel to Maple-Ridge. So my lack of interest for not using the bridge is due because I do not have to use it.

The Fee chart, taken from the Translink Website:

Car:  Most passenger vehicles, vans, SUVs, pick-up trucks, and taxis

$2.75 — Registered with OBU
$3.30 — Registered Video
$3.90 — Unregistered

Small Truck: Cars towing a trailer, light duty commercial vehicles with fewer than five axles, school buses, motor homes, and intercity buses or coaches.

$5.55 — Registered with OBU
$6.10 — Registered Video
$6.65 — Unregistered

Large Truck: Articulated trucks or tractor trailer combinations.

$8.30 — Registered with OBU
$8.90 — Registered Video
$9.40 — Unregistered

Motorcycle: Motorized two-wheeled vehicles; does not include electric bicycles.

n/a — Registered with OBU
$1.40 — Registered Video
$2.50 — Unregistered

While I was at the Post Office this morning, I met with two people who really love the bridge because they will use it. One person lives in Maple-Ridge and works in Fort Langley, while the other does a lot business in Maple-Ridge and lives here. The big factor—time. They both said that it takes less than 15 minutes now to travel from one town to the other. The savings in fuel, time and stress are sorely weighed against the toll cost, yet when I asked them if paying more taxes to cover building cost for the bridge was better than having lower taxes and a toll fee, both declined to give their opinions.

However, the thorny issue of what to do about the Albion Ferry became a focus of our discussion. They wanted the Ferry to keep going, but like the tax issues, the question of who should pay for it never really got answered. Translink, the government body that is in charge of the transportation infrastructure, has stated that the Ferry will close towards the end of July 2009 because there is no point in keeping something going that will continue to costs a lot money to operate.

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