Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Langley City All-Candidates Debate, Langley Advance Correction, Road Pricing, and Tolls

Last Thursday, I participated in the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce’s All-Candidates Debate for the City of Langley. Both the Langley Times and Langley Advance provided coverage of the debate.

Myself, Nathan Pachal, talking about building streets that work, a community that's strong at last Thursday's City of Langley All-Candidates Debate.

At the debate, I articulated my vision for the City of Langley which includes:

Supporting the creation of a strong local economy by renewing and investing in Downtown Langley, creating a vibrant and prosperous core.

Working hard to build an accessible and safe community for all people. Starting with simple things like making sure our sidewalks are safe and connected, and supporting innovative ways to make our community feel safer by working with the RCMP and incorporating crime prevention through environmental design principles as relates to public spaces.

Promoting and enhancing our park system. We have a diamond in the rough —the Nickomekl Floodplain— and I will work to make it shine. I will also work hard to ensure that the City of Langley takes action to restore Brydon Lagoon as a great place for residents, visitors, and most importantly, wildlife.

When I was reading the Langley Advance, I noticed in the print edition I was quoted as saying “I guess tax is a pretty crappy way to raise money.” What I actually said was “A gas tax is a pretty crappy way to raise money.” The online Langley Advance article has been corrected.

This quote was in reference to how we pay for regionally significant roads and bridges in Metro Vancouver. In the short term, I would support a shift away from larger tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears Bridge, to smaller tolls on all major crossings. Not only will this help pay for the upkeep of bridges, but it will also help people make better choices on how to travel, reducing congestion.

In the long term, I would support the gradual elimination of gas tax, replacing it with direct road pricing. Gas tax is a poor way to fund roads because as vehicles become more efficient, less revenue is generated to pay for the maintenance of regionally significant roads. Gas tax isn’t directly tied to road usage, so it doesn’t help reduce congestion. Road pricing is fairer as people pay-as-they-go. Road pricing also helps reduce congestion. You can read a post I wrote in February for more information on road pricing. Also check out the report “Congested and Nowhere to Go: Congestion, Road Infrastructure, and Road Pricing in Metro Vancouver” by Jonathan Arnold.

Of course major roads and bridges are controlled by the provincial government and TransLink. On council, I would only be able to advocate for change.

No comments: