SAINT JOHN — Last week, the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association made it known any new tolls would cripple the Maritime trucking industry, and now they’ve taken aim at current tolls.
The APTA’s board of directors recently passed a resolution supporting the recent initiative to remove tolls on the Harbour Bridge in Saint John.
APTA executive director Peter Nelson says the bridge toll booths are one of six "choke points" in Atlantic Canada slowly strangling the industry, in a story published by the Telegraph-Journal. But he did note he was optimistic the tolls would eventually be removed.
Nelson says the 10,000 truckers in Atlantic Canada are being ripped off because they pay on average $50,000 to $60,000 a year each in numerous fees, including tolls, ferry fees, fuel taxes, licences, and permits.
The APTA doesn’t think it’s unreasonable for the east coast provinces to figure out a way to remove tolls and ferry fees on all the region’s “choke points,” which include the Harbour Bridge, the Saint John-Digby ferry, the Confederation Bridge linking New Brunswick and P.E.I., the Cobequid Pass highway toll in Nova Scotia and the two toll bridges in Halifax-Darmouth.
Saint John Conservative MP Rodney Weston is trying to convince the provincial government to take control of the bridge and remove the tolls. As a result the bridge authority recently delayed $35 million in repair work because of the uncertainty surrounding the bridge’s future ownership.