B.C.’s Chambers pass policy calling for mobility pricing

News Releases

VANCOUVER, June 10, 2016 – B.C.’s Chambers of Commerce have passed a policy calling on the B.C. government to work toward an urban mobility pricing model as a foundation for sustainable transportation funding in the province.

Mobility pricing is a means to directly charge levies for the use of roads and other transportation infrastructure. It can include tolls, distance or time-based fees and congestion charges.

“B.C.’s transportation infrastructure is a cornerstone of our economy,” said Maureen Kirkbride, BC Chamber interim CEO. “As regions such as the Lower Mainland prepare for significant population growth, we need a reliable source of transportation funding that also fights congestion.” 

Mobility pricing exists in a number of jurisdictions around the globe, from Sweden to Oregon to Singapore, however different cities have opted to implement the approach in different ways. Some jurisdictions toll bridges and tunnels. Others charge drivers for the total distance they drive. Yet others toll drivers when they enter a city’s downtown core. 

“Mobility pricing is a complex issue,” Kirkbride said. “But with B.C.’s rising transportation infrastructure needs, it’s clear there’s no time to lose. We need to identify the best way to implement this in urban centres across the province – and then we need to get it done.” 

Kirkbride said the payoffs will be substantial.

“Right now, every major bridge, road or mass transit project requires a complicated funding partnership to move forward,” she said. “And that creates uncertainty and delay. We need a stable, reliable funding approach to meet B.C.’s long-term transportation needs in our urban centres.”

The policy, The Need for an Innovative Approach to Transportation for an Increasingly Urban Province, calls on the provincial government to:

  • Commit to funding transportation infrastructure investment and implementing policies that are equitable, efficient, and contain basic traffic demand-management principles;
  • Make as a prerequisite the need for investment in public transit to provide viable alternatives to single passenger vehicle travel;
  • Commit to working with regional stakeholders and agencies to implement an urban mobility pricing model as a foundation for sustainable transportation funding; and
  • Review the financial impacts of implementing the urban mobility pricing model with the objective of eventually replacing gas taxes in concentrated urban areas.

The policy was passed at the BC Chamber Annual General Meeting & Conference, the province’s foremost business gathering, held this year in Kelowna, May 29 to 31.

This unique grassroots policy-building forum brings together approximately 200 Chamber delegates from across B.C. to vote on new business/economic policies. Policies that are adopted become part of the BC Chamber’s advocacy agenda. This year, delegates voted on 55 proposed policies. The first 29 were voted on May 30; please see news release here. The remaining 26 were voted on May 31; please see news release here. Of the proposed policies put forward this year, 49 were successful on the policy floor.

Preliminary versions of these policies are available on the BC Chamber website here; please note that these may not be identical to the versions passed, due to amendments made on the policy floor.

The BC Chamber is the largest and most broadly-based business organization in the province.  Representing more than 125 Chambers of Commerce and 36,000 businesses of every size, sector and region of the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce is “The Voice of Business in BC.”

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For further details, please contact:

Dan Baxter
Director of Policy Development, Government & Stakeholder Relations
BC Chamber of Commerce
T 604.638.8116
C 778.986.5001
E dbaxter@bcchamber.org

Jenny MacPhee
Manager, Communications
BC Chamber of Commerce
T 604.638.8114
C 604.366.4990
E jmacphee@bcchamber.org