B.C. removing tolls on the Coquihalla Highway
Tolls on British Columbia's Coquihalla Highway will be removed immediately, Premier Gordon Campbell said Friday during his annual address to the Union of B.C. Municipalities.
Currently B.C.'s only toll road, the Coquihalla runs from Hope, north to Kamloops, via Merritt.
"Removing the tolls will mean literally hundreds of dollars annually in the pockets of British Columbians who regularly use the highway," Campbell said.
"It will also mean thousands of dollars in annual saving for truckers who account for 20 per cent of highway traffic along the corridor but pay more than half of the total toll revenue."
Approximately 3.4 million trips are completed across the Coquihalla Highway each year in British Columbia. In 2007, 2.7 million passenger vehicles and 700,000 commercial trucks crossed the corridor.
See the live traffic camera from the toll booth.
A key transportation artery in B.C., the Coquihalla was established with a toll system so that it could be fast tracked for Expo 86.
But in spite of promises by a number of provincial governments, commuters have continued to pay the toll right up until the Campbell announcement on Friday.
Coquihalla Highway figures released by the Provincial Government:
- $57 million in toll revenue was collected in the last fiscal year end, 2007/08.
- Total amount of tolls collected from opening until Sept. 26, 2008: Approximately $845 million.
- 3.4 million trips are completed on the Coquihalla system each year.
- 2.7 million trips are made by passenger vehicles.
- 700,000 trips are made by commercial trucks.
- 81 per cent of travelers reside outside the communities of Hope, the Thompson-Nicola and the Okanagan, creating significant tourism, investment and economic opportunities for the region.
- A passenger vehicle making a round trip twice a month will save $480 a year.
- A commercial truck making a round trip once a week will save $4,800 a year.
For more updates on this developing story, watch CTV News at 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.