MIRAMICHI, N.B. — A recent suggestion that New Brunswick institute tolled highways as a means to generate revenue has drawn criticism from the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association.
Peter Nelson, executive director of the APTA, says highway tolls would cripple the industry.
The idea of highway tolls was floated by Tom Mann, executive director of the New Brunswick Union. It’s been reported the province is about to post a $500 million deficit and Mann says drastic times call for drastic measures.
"The overall purpose is to get at the $180 million the province has lost the past seven years by not having the tolls on," said Mann to local media.
In the Times and Transcript article, Nelson notes that the trucking industry wouldn’t be able to afford any added transportation costs, and warns that if toll highways were to reappear in New Brunswick, there would be a trickle-down effect to the public, that would directly impact everything from the cost of produce to the cost of a pair of jeans.
Nelson added that toll highways would make regional shipping ports a less attractive option for shippers, and would also make it more difficult for businesses to ship their goods abroad.
"There’s a tipping point and we’re just about at it — to bring up that old canard of toll highways is just ridiculous," he said. "One hundred percent of all freight that moves internally in Atlantic Canada moves by truck — we don’t produce anything in this region anymore."
In a recent interview, Finance Minister Victor Boudreau seemed to quash any suggestion that the government was even considering erecting toll booths on New Brunswick highways.