News Local

Call for border tolls to curb B.C.'s lost gas revenue 0

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

As B.C.’s fuel revenues fall, gasoline taxes collected south of the 49th are surging due to an increasing number of Vancouverites crossing the border for cheaper pumps. (FILE PHOTO)

As B.C.’s fuel revenues fall, gasoline taxes collected south of the 49th are surging due to an increasing number of Vancouverites crossing the border for cheaper pumps. (FILE PHOTO)

Shrinking B.C. fuel tax revenue and an increasing number of Vancouverites heading south of the 49th to gas up has one local transportation planner suggesting highway tolls to tax anyone heading towards a U.S. border crossing.

Eric Doherty said Monday toll proceeds would go back into provincial coffers to fund transit.

“It would stop a lot of short, unnecessary trips across the border and generate badly, badly needed revenue for transit.”

Such trips drastically increased over the past decade, according to Clark Williams-Derry of Sightline Institute, a Seattle think-tank.

Using the Point Roberts crossing as an example, the municipality of fewer than 1,500 people saw passenger vehicle crossings increase to 1.17 million in 2012 from 715,000 a decade previous, he said.

Williams-Derry said the corresponding amount of fuel taxes paid to Washington municipalities within 16 kilometers of the Canada border with the increased fuel-ups had also spiked about 72% over the decade to $321,000 collected in total in 2011.

That fee is taken from a one-cent state tax charged for every gallon (3.8 litres) bought near the border.

“When people go down and fuel up, they’re funding transit in Washington state,” Doherty said. “This is also cutting into (B.C.) gas tax revenue.”

TransLink’s 2014 fuel tax funding is estimated at $338 million — 23% of total revenue — but is projected to fall by $35 million in the next several years.

The B.C. Ministry of Transportation said there are “no plans” right now to toll approaches to the U.S. border.

“Tolling highways to southern border crossings is not consistent with existent provincial tolling policy,” it said in a statement.

Under the existing policy, a toll would only be allowed provided there was a free alternative route and “only major projects” that increase transport capacity would be subject to tolling.

 

 

 

Poll

Do you go across the border to buy gas or other goods?

Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions and our netiquette rules.


Featured Businesses

Go to the Marketplace »