Killing bridge tolls won’t kill ferries
MP Lawrence MacAulay is fretting over Senator Percy Downe’s mission to free the people of P.E.I. from the Confederation Bridge toll (“Free ride may kill ferry service: MP,” Saturday’s Guardian). The article says the bridge toll is $46 but neglects to mention the minimum car toll at Wood Islands is $75, more if you make a reservation.
MacAulay is to be commended for wanting to protect the ferry as it is in his riding, but as an MP, he has a responsibility to all Islanders and many of us are simply asking for fairness with regard to bridge tolls (versus the free ride Canadian taxpayers are giving to users of the Champlain Bridge in Montreal).
MacAulay argues that “if the bridge was suddenly free, you wouldn’t see a car at the Wood Islands or Caribou ferry.” On that point, I have to disagree. Many tourists come to P.E.I. from Nova Scotia on the ferry, to experience the boat ride. I don’t think that would change to a great extent.
If I am correct, funding expires this year and must be renegotiated. In May of last year, MacAulay moved a private members’ bill in the House of Commons to secure long-term funding for the ferry. He stated “The ferry has an economic impact of $27 million a year to the island, and it has a good effect on the communities, mostly Charlottetown and eastern Prince Edward Island.”
Good point. Since Charlottetown is almost equidistant from the bridge in the west to the ferry in the east, using Mr. MacAulay’s point, the bridge is also important economically to Charlottetown. In fact, I’ve heard many times that folks from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia would come to the Island more often if the bridge were free.
Kill the toll. Lloyd Kerry, Charlottetown