Port Mann tolls will “pay all costs” of $3.3 billion project

In the 2012-2013 budget released this week, the Government of British Columbia holds to its position that user tolls from the Port Mann Bridge will pay for all capital and operating costs associated with the 37-kilometre Port Mann/Highway 1 Project.  This in spite of a caution last year from B.C.’s Auditor-General, who said the revenue outlook from tolling is uncertain. (See Fraseropolis, September 30, 2011.)

The assertion that PMH1 will be self-financing is contained both in the main provincial budget document (pages 38 and 41) and in a new service plan from the Transportation Investment Corporation, the agency responsible for financing and building the project.  The language has been softened slightly; the previous service plan referred to “full cost recovery,” the current one speaks of recovering “the capital costs of the project as well as operating and maintenance costs,” with revenues reaching a net positive position by 2017/2018. Continue reading