The Future of the Port Mann Bridge
The biggest concern regarding the new bridge is the cost. The estimated final cost is $3.3 billion which will be paid for with a $3 toll each way. Many people are worried about “the price of convenience” with this toll (Future Port Mann Bridge, 2009). Some also argue that the government should spend money on improving and enlarging transit instead of spending money on a new bridge.
While these are valid concerns, I support construction of the new Port Mann Bridge. The $3 toll is rather high, especially for regular commuters. However, the toll is not applicable to those who do not use the bridge. It serves more as a targeted tax for those who make use of the bridge. Additionally, there is a possibility that the toll will not be permanent since it may be lowered after several years as the bridge is paid for. It is also important to realize that most other larger communities do not have ‘free’ bridges like all the other bridges throughout Vancouver.
In response to those that argue against the bridge and for transit improvements, the new Port Mann Bridge will actually benefit public transit. The bridge will have ‘fast bus’ lanes in both directions, providing bus service on the Port Mann for the first time in 20 years. These fast bus lanes will have the capability to be converted to rapid transit in the future – this would not have been possible if the bridge was twinned as originally planned (Future Port Mann Bridge, 2009). Hence, the bridge will greatly increase the speed of public transit. Furthermore, if people take public transit, they will not have to pay the toll, thus promoting a greener environment.
A major advantage to constructing a new bridge instead of twinning the original is that the current Port Mann Bridge is 45 years old and will cost about $180 million to maintain (Single 10-lane bridge to replace Port Mann, 2009). After the new bridge is completed, the old one will be taken down, saving taxpayers’ money in maintenance.
Overall, building the new bridge is a huge project with high costs, giving many people good reasons to criticize it. However, I believe the benefits of the final product will outweigh the costs since it will solve traffic congestion problems, reduce travel time and reduce harmful emissions.
(2009, February 4). Single 10-lane bridge to replace Port Mann. CBC. Retrieved March 17, 2009, from http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/02/04/bc-new-port-mann-bridge.html#socialcomments
Slobogean, T. (2009, February 5). Future Port Mann Bridge: Drivers not thrilled about toll. News1130. Retrieved March 17, 2009, from http://www.news1130.com/news/local/more.jsp?content=20090204_173159_38340