Odd Thoughts: Bridge tolls wreak political toll

Why not modest tolls on all Lower Mainland bridges?

Removing tolls from local bridges seems a risky political move for a fledgling NDP minority government sorely dependent on a Green rump opposed to it.

Masses of ardent supporters of Langley’s Socred/Liberal MLA Rich Coleman, still stinging from the provincial slap that flung their hero to the dingy side of the legislature, won’t bother exploring the merits. They’ll pretend to hate it outright while gleefully chortling over the blood splashed between Premier John Horgan and Green horn Andrew Weaver.

Lots of people in Langley will be pleased – even if the Coleman Country bumpkins won’t admit it.

Langley has a deep history of despising tolls, going back to the 1934 announcement that a new bridge at New Westminster would be tolled.

Langley’s council expressed its malcontent over the provincial announcement by holding an emergency meeting and planning a public protest. That malcontent council covered all of Langley, including the malcontents who eventually split off to form their own little fiefdom currently known as Langley City.

The Pattullo Bridge was opened by Premier Thomas Dufferin (Duff) Pattullo in November of 1937, and Langley residents would have to pay a toll of 25 cents per crossing, until the toll was finally lifted in 1952.

It was unfair to all residents south of the Fraser River.

Sound familiar?

Adding insult to injury, the new bridge was to replace an adequate vehicle/rail bridge that had offered free crossings to those stray Langley motorists.

At a time when any trek to New Westminster or points west, whether for business or to visit relatives, was community news worthy of a mention in the local paper, those two bits constituted an assault on freedom of movement.

Only when the Lions Gate Bridge opened a year later – also with a 25-cent toll appended – did Langley’s furor abate somewhat. Maybe it wasn’t so unfair, after all, if the Other Guys also paid.

Today’s toll opponents have again been screaming “Unfair!” while proponents slavered over the revenue. Would it make more sense, rather than removing the Port Mann and Golden Ears tolls altogether, to lower those tolls to a more acceptable rate… and add similar tolls to all major Lower Mainland Bridges connecting its other districts?

It would be a political risk. It would break a campaign promise to noisy malcontents.

But it would be fair.

Apparently, Horgan’s Dippers, like Christy’s Libs, favour a safe base over fairness.

Just Posted

Parents rally to support LGBT education in Abbotsford schools

Small demonstration held in the rain to counter anti-SOGI rhetoric

Rail upgrades will cost Langley Township $6 million

The council may borrow money to fund the federally-mandated upgrades.

Sold-out crowd rocked Langley twin’s greenhouse charity gala

Volunteers credited with making party profitable for sick kids at Canuck Place.

Otter Co-op Liquor Store begins construction in Aldergrove

New three-storey building will be a destination retail and wine tasting facility

Langley Township ponders developing land assets

The Township may become its own developer to find a new revenue stream.

VIDEO: Langley concert and five new songs inspired by Canada’s 150th

Familiar faces from Langley Community Music School were asked to create Canadian pieces for Nov. 25.

David Cassidy, teen idol and ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67

Cassidy announced earlier this year he had been diagnosed with dementia

Vigil held for woman whose remains were found on Shuswap farm

Family and friends remember Vernon resident Traci Genereaux and along with five other missing women

Brewers create anti-fascist ale

Not For Nazis Nut Brown Ale made in the Shuswap will be ready in time for Christmas

LETTER: Jumbo Valley is part of Ktunaxa territorial claim

Ktunaxa Nation Council responds to Tom Fletcher column

Union contests layoffs at Maple Ridge motel

Demonstration planned for today at former Quality Inn

Pitt Meadows councillor convicted of sex assault resigns from job

David Murray will retire from work with city of Port Coquitlam

3,800-plant grow-op busted on First Nation reserve

Three men face charges after RCMP bust a large drug operation on the Soowahlie Reserve near Chilliwack

B.C. boy’s social media bid to get levidrome in the Oxford dictionary goes viral

‘It’s been five weeks and has totally blown up today.’

Most Read