Killing bridge tolls won’t kill fer­ries

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

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

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