Metro Vancouver’s Transport 2050 plan excludes road tolls

It’s a bit of an odd omission considering all the talk these days about removing carbon pollution from the region and encouraging people to make more trips on foot, by bike or by public transport. common.

But mobility pricing – or transport pricing, or congestion pricing or what you call motorist pricing for the use of public roads – is not included in the long-term transport strategy of the region to make Metro Vancouver a more climate-friendly place.

The draft Transport 2050 plan, which city council was briefed on this week, does not completely ignore politics, but concludes that not all citizens and politicians agree with it yet.

Not much of a surprise, considering that unanimity seems impossible.

TransLink is leading the development of the plan and plans to share the final version of it with mayors across the region in early 2022 for adoption. Supporters of a road pricing policy should not hold their collective breath to get it included in the plan before then.

“A transformation policy of this magnitude is not without challenges,” reads an explanation in the draft plan.

“While there are real concerns about the growing congestion in the region, there are also real concerns about the impacts that a road user charge could have on households and businesses, especially freight carriers. and other businesses that depend on large amounts of road travel. “

Ultimately, more dialogue and “higher levels of public and political support are needed before a regional approach to road use pricing can be considered more seriously for Metro Vancouver.”

No Kumbaya moment

The Vancouver crowd listening to the mobility pricing debate will recall that public and political support for a proposed system for the heart of the city did not exactly culminate in a Kumbaya moment when the council did. discussed in November 2020.

At the request of the Council. Rebecca Bligh, a majority of city council asked staff to first assess the feasibility of such a system in the city and describe the costs and benefits. The city hired a team of consultants in September and a series of public feedback exercises are planned for next year.

In the meantime, what do you think, is it an effective tool?

The Independent Commission on Mobility Pricing thought so in its 2018 report, saying that it remains “one of the most promising tools for reducing congestion and improving the reliability of travel time for people and passengers. goods traveling in and through our region “.

However, linking it to climate change, when India, China and the United States have work to do to reduce pollution, has been a failure for many, who see it as another tax grab.

Conversely, supporters say the fight against climate change begins at home and road tolls are late, noting that 39% of the city’s carbon pollution is generated by burning gasoline and diesel in vehicles.

Anyway, here are some points raised by the authors of the 2050 plan:

  • The global and local challenge of climate change, of which transport is a major contributor, calls on us to act urgently, at all levels of government.
  • Regional greenhouse gas emissions have essentially remained at the same level for a decade.
  • Each year that we fail to significantly reduce emissions, it will take more work in the years to come, at higher costs, to achieve the region’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.
  • With transport being the biggest source of carbon pollution in the region, we need to urgently act with bold action if we are to meet our climate action goals and avoid the worst impacts of a destabilized climate.
  • Even if we manage to meet our emission reduction targets in this region, global greenhouse gas emissions to date will still result in future climate impacts.
  • The region is expected to welcome around one million new residents by 2050, and this growth will add pressure to an already strained transportation system.

Here’s another point that seems appropriate in a week the disaster struck the Fraser Valley and other parts of the province:

“We need to prepare for a future characterized by more extreme weather events and climate disruption.”

Maybe I’ll write about puppies and rainbows next week.

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