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[Trans Canada Highway] The Malahat


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#1 G-Man

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 10:05 AM

Interesting article on Todd Litman's site on his ideas for improving the route in response to the Billion dollar projects that MoT is thinking about.

http://www.vtpi.org/malahat.pdf

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#2 Mike K.

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 09:30 AM

Good grief, these guys are back once again. They brought us such wonderful editorials like "stop growth in Victoria" and "we don't need to build more housing." Now the duo is trying to tell us that the only link to the north Island from Victoria should be tolled because clearly it doesn't benefit British Columbians.

I remember questioning Kennedy about his zero growth policy a while back, only to be informed that he did indeed move to Victoria from elsewhere. So it's alright for him to move here, but it's not alright for others? I'd also bet whenever he chooses to cross the Malahat he has no qualms about participating in that traffic congestion. Perhaps he doesn't realize much of the daily traffic across the 'hat is caused by individuals who work in Victoria but can't afford to live there. By imposing tolls those workers would more than likely re-evaluate their ability to work in Victoria. Things are tough as it is for many of our workers but the duo insist on doing everything in order to make it even tougher.

Toll makes sense for Malahat
BY MARTIN FARNHAM AND PETER W. KENNEDY

Martin Farnham and Peter W. Kennedy are members of the department of economics at the University of Victoria. The government’s Malahat website is http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/malahat/


The province is looking into numerous alternatives to address traffic congestion and safety on the Malahat. Included among these are proposals to expand the current road, build a new road, build a bridge across the Saanich Inlet, and expand ferry service across the Inlet.
Each of these would be very costly to the B.C. taxpayer. Each would be enormously costly to Greater Victoria residents who would bear the additional burden of a long-run increase in daily traffic flow into Victoria from the north. This would increase local traffic congestion and place new strains on local infrastructure.
Yet the benefits of such an expansion would not accrue to the average B.C. taxpayer or the typical Greater Victoria resident. Instead, nearly all the benefits would go to a relatively small number of landowners and speculators north of the Malahat.
Furthermore, in the long run this costly project would not even solve the congestion problem. Faced with an easier commute from the Cowichan Valley, people migrating to southern Vancouver Island will choose to take advantage of cheaper land in the Cowichan to live there and commute into Victoria. Eventually, as this trend continues, the suburban expansion of the Cowichan will push up traffic volume on the new Malahat (in whatever form it takes) and congestion will again result.
In the meantime, all that new traffic volume facilitated by the expansion project will descend on Greater Victoria on a daily basis. People driving long distances to their jobs will clog local arteries and make life more difficult for those of us living relatively close to the centre of town. Without costly expansion of local infrastructure, we will all face greater commuting headaches and diminished quality of life, and our property values will suffer as a result.
Setting a toll on the Malahat would be a much cheaper, fairer, and economically sensible way to solve the congestion and safety problem.
A toll would be cheaper because the infrastructure investment involved would cost a tiny fraction of that of any of the expansion proposals currently under review. With current technology such a toll is easy to implement. Monitoring and billing, even of occasional users, can be done electronically and without requiring cars to stop. And the toll would largely (if not completely) eliminate the need for expansion of the road.
A toll would be fairer because it would make those who choose long commutes over the Malahat pay for the costs they impose on others in the form of traffic congestion all the way down the Trans-Canada Highway into Victoria.
Why should someone living in Langford pay extra taxes to ease the commute of someone living north of the Malahat, only to see their own commute made more difficult as a result?
A toll would be more sensible economically, because it would provide the right incentives to reduce traffic congestion and suburban sprawl. It would encourage carpooling, use of public transit, and telecommuting. And it would discourage people from living long distances from their jobs and therefore imposing congestion costs on others.
Common sense tells us that if you set the price of something at zero, people will tend to overuse it. The Malahat is overused because people do not have to pay to drive over it. Expanding the road or building a bridge, while leaving the price at zero, will just create more congestion in the future.
While setting tolls on every block of every street would be prohibitively expensive, setting tolls strategically at bottlenecks can go a long way, at low cost, to improving traffic flow throughout a region.
Note that a toll would not stop development in the Cowichan Valley. It would simply force actual and potential residents of the area to take into account the cost that their long commute imposes on others in the region.
In fact, by discouraging migration of Victoria-bound commuters to the Cowichan Valley, a toll would help to shift the composition of migration to that area in favour of people who live and work in the area. For those in the Cowichan who worry that that their towns will become bedroom communities serving Victoria, a toll would work against this trend.
Environmentalists tell us we should oppose expansion of the Malahat to protect wildlife and ecosystems. We feel that most Greater Victoria residents have reason to oppose it out of simple self-interest.
If such a project goes ahead, those of us living south of the Malahat will bear the costs — in the form of diverted provincial tax dollars, increased congestion, and decreased property values as our local roads become more crowded and our air becomes more polluted. The benefits will go to a relatively small number of landowners and speculators to the north of the Malahat who would see property values rise as a result of the project.
For most of us living in Greater Victoria, the economics of Malahat expansion are quite uncompelling.

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#3 G-Man

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 09:37 AM

In the link I provided they also think that the Malahat should be tolled at peak times but that the money go directly into subsidizing an inexpensive express bus service between Nanaimo - Duncan - Victoria. That sounded like a reasonable alternative to building super expensive bridge. Still you don't want to toll the malahat with no other ways of getting to vic.

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#4 Mike K.

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 09:43 AM

Exactly, you can't toll the only means of access into the core from the north Island. It's ludicrous.

So what's the bottom line of Kennedy's/Farnham's effort?
1) To increase their self-worth through restricting housing, resulting in a rise in housing value.
2) To increase the value of their positions at the university through a zero-growth policy. If bright minds can't move here, their jobs are safe from competition.
3) To reduce the ability of the working poor or working middle-class to, well, work and live here! This creates a super-expensive city where only the super rich can afford to live and coincidentally can afford to work.

Go get'em, fellas!

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#5 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 09:46 AM

The toll idea stinks.

I think the WHOLE Island has benefited from the new inland highway from Nanaimo north.
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#6 Holden West

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 10:30 AM

...So what's the bottom line of Kennedy's/Farnham's effort?...

2) To increase the value of their positions at the university through a zero-growth policy. If bright minds can't move here, their jobs are safe from competition...


Ha ha! I never thought of that. Good one!
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#7 Jarrod

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 11:00 AM

The toll idea stinks.

I think the WHOLE Island has benefited from the new inland highway from Nanaimo north.



I think so too. It has made the Comox Valley explode with development.

Also, this person in that article says that it wouldn't help the average BC Tax payer, but what about all the developments in Vancouver? The Canada line won't help people in Abbotsford, Kelowna, Prince George, Fort Nelson hell, Maple Ridge.

It's just ignorant selfish pricks that think stuff like that up.

#8 Galvanized

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 06:01 PM

^Throw that Canada Line comparison into a letter to the TC!
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#9 Holden West

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 06:17 PM

:lol: I like this first guy!

For whom tolls knell

Times Colonist
Published: Monday, August 14, 2006

While the idea that tolling the Malahat will somehow enable Victoria to re-invent itself as the Switzerland of Vancouver Island is intriguing, I really don't think that the era of low taxation and vehicle-free streets is going to be achieved by this codswallop.

I am even less convinced that the Langford Crawl is somehow triggered in Mill Bay. I rather think that particular blight on the planet is caused by the good residents of Langford rushing to get home to their beloved Big Box Stores. So If there is to be a toll then maybe Admirals Road would be a good place to start.

However, as I do not wish to see Victoria turn into a kind of Detroit with tweed curtains, I would be happy to accept the movement of employment out of this hard- pressed area. Perhaps we could start by moving UVic's Department of Economics to oh, let's say, Duncan. Perhaps this will help relieve the pressure on our hard-pressed capital region.

Frank Taker,

Duncan.
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2006

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Highway, yes; sewage, no

Times Colonist
Published: Monday, August 14, 2006

As economists, Martin Farnham and Peter Kennnedy should know better than to argue that the "benefits [of improving the Malahat] will go to a relatively small number of landowners and speculators to the north of the Malahat..." (Aug. 10). While there are costs to improving infrastructure, there is also a wider set of benefits that accrue to society as a whole. No one would argue, for example, that the costs of the U.S. inter-state highway system exceed the benefits.

While we can all agree that user fees are a good way to encourage efficient use of things, and to fund their marginal cost, Farnham and Kennedy seem to believe that tolls would be a good way to address the "capacity" problem on the Malahat. The issue here is that capacity is not the problem (as identified on the government's website), but "reliability" (due to road closures) is.

Unless Victoria is seen as the centre of the universe, I find the economics of Malahat expansion to be quite compelling -- but I hope I don't have to pay for Victoria's sewage treatment!

Mark K. Loken, Ph.D. (Economics),

Malahat.

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Solution shouldn't ignore commuters

Times Colonist
Published: Monday, August 14, 2006

Re: "Toll makes sense for Malahat," Aug. 10.

The Trans-Canada highway is a commercial route serving all Canadians equally, and as far as I know there are no tolls on it anywhere.

I commute because I have to, not because I want to, and I wish I could afford a house in Greater Victoria. Truckers, tourists, tradespeople and commuters alike need safe transportation.

I attended the Transportation Ministry open houses on improving the Malahat and it was clear that Victorians in every neighbourhood stand to benefit from a dependable route in and out of town.

Douglas Large,

Duncan.
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#10 Scaper

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 06:34 PM

Toll is stupid!!!

Need an inland route.

Where else is the trans Canada highway tolled???

#11 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 07:00 PM

Nova Scotia
From the New Brunswick border, the main Trans-Canada Highway route continues east into Nova Scotia, where it follows the designation of provincial Highway 104. The highway then passes by Truro, where it links with provincial Highway 102 to Halifax, 117 km east of the New Brunswick border. It should be noted that there is a 30-km stretch of toll highway on this section with the cost $4.00/automobile (different rates for other vehicles).
From Truro, the highway continues east for 57 km to New Glasgow (where it links with provincial Highway 106 — that portion of the Trans-Canada running to the ferry terminal at Caribou), and then northeast for another 112 km to the Canso Causeway which crosses the Strait of Canso to Cape Breton Island near Port Hawkesbury. From the Canso Causeway, the highway continues east for 144 km using the designation of provincial Highway 105 in Cape Breton, until reaching the Marine Atlantic ferry terminal at North Sydney.

http://en.wikipedia....-Canada_Highway
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#12 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 07:06 PM

Roads in the Maritime provinces are in bad shape, and there's little money in provincial coffers for upgrading them. First Nova Scotia, and then New Brunswick, resort to putting tolls on sections of the Trans-Canada to fund new highway construction and upgrades. In this CBC Television clip, Bill Casey, a Nova Scotia MP, is up in arms about tolls. And he's not the only one. Pat Binns, Premier of Prince Edward Island, is threatening to sue the New Brunswick government.

http://archives.cbc.... ... nada/clip7
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#13 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 07:08 PM

Not to mention the toll ferry from Nanaimo to N. Vancouver...and the one that gets you to NFLD and Lab.
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#14 Baro

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 10:19 PM

What about that huge toll ferry that goes from that remote point on some mysterious peninsula north of the airport to that trailer park and farming area south of vancouver?? Does anyone know about that one?
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#15 Mike K.

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 10:45 PM

We dont speaketh about-eth that one.

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#16 Mike K.

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 09:06 AM

Some more letters regarding Farnham's and Kennedy's latest spiel:

Toll plan based on false premise
In “Toll makes sense for Malahat” (Aug. 10), Martin Farnham and Peter Kennedy contend a levy on the Trans-Canada Highway could prevent “diverted provincial tax dollars, increased congestion and decreased property values.” In their view, commuters burden Victoria’s infrastructure, diminish lifestyles and threaten Victoria’s real estate. Moreover, by stating that only a few speculators and landowners north of the Malahat will benefit from highway improvements, they fail to comprehend non-monetary benefits.
Equating the terminus of the Trans-Send Us Your Letters
More Letters Online http://www.timescolonist.com
Canada Highway with ownership, Farnham and Kennedy then fault commuters’ poor choices for “local traffic congestion and ... new strains on local infrastructure.” Specifically, they believe commuters “make life more difficult for those of us living relatively close to town.”
Farnham and Kennedy err by failing to grasp that many commuters have little real choice but to commute. Some travel for specialized goods or services. Others commute for essential medical treatments. Students drive to Victoria to attend educational programs unavailable up-Island.
Not all commuters are paid workers; not all commuters are home and property owners. Fewer and fewer people can afford to rent or purchase in Victoria. Farnham and Kennedy fail to consider the underpaid or unpaid people who commute not by choice but to subsist, survive or serve others.
Rather than tolls on the Malahat, perhaps the province should consider deploying an under-utilized resource or two. Recently, I was gridlocked on the Malahat with two seniors, one of them recently ill. My passengers endured over three hours of misery as we inched our way to the port-a-potty. Given the frequency of accidents on this stretch of highway a few portable toilets need to be located along the route now.
As for reducing traffic congestion, a few well-timed passenger railcars could run the existing track and return the Valley folk daily.
The Malahat problem needs an inclusive strategy that values difference and fosters wholeness across the social spectrum. Let’s fix the bloody Malahat now, so we can all enjoy some peace.
Susan Lymbery, Cowichan Valley.

Proposal favours the rich
Re: “Toll makes sense for Malahat,” Aug. 10.
Was this meant to be a joke? Surely no educated person could suggest yet another barrier to exclude another group of people from their country’s benefits. This time, the focus is so narrow as to discriminate against people purely for living north of the Malahat. The simple premise that a toll will eliminate traffic congestion suggests that you are eliminating the people who cannot afford the toll. Therefore, you are restricting access to Victoria to only the more prosperous members of our society.
Restricting a public road would increase the cost of goods and decrease investments going to up-Island communities, which may suffer more unemployment and decreased property values.
Congestion in Greater Victoria depends upon the number of jobs in this area. With better and easier travel comes the spreading out of business centres, which will be determined by marketdriven costs.
Having a safer road will save many lives and families, what are the economic benefits associated with that?
We live in a society of co-operative people. I suggest that the benefits of a safer and more accessible road go to all of us in myriad ways that are not always apparent.
Eric J. Pittman,
Victoria.


California shows highway solution
British Columbia and Northern California have more in common than just being adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. We have the Malahat and they have the Redwood Forest Highway, a narrow, congested forest highway that is fed by fourlane freeways at both ends. California’s solution wasn’t expensive. It didn’t involve cutting down majestic trees. And it didn’t involve building stacked concrete viaducts.
California’s solution involved reducing the speed limit where the highway snakes through the narrow sections of the Redwood Highway. The reduced speed limits only slightly lengthen the driving time while dramatically reducing accidents. Frequent unmanned roadside radar display units inform drivers about their speed. On a recent trip trough the Redwoods I was impressed by the smooth, safe and efficient flow of traffic.
M.A. Hounslow,
Victoria.

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#17 Mike K.

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 09:08 AM

One thing we should also keep in mind is the proposal to build a bridge across Finlayson Arm probably won't occur. Not because it's not a bad option, but because Langford won't allow the major route running through their community to be diverted to another municipality.

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#18 van-island

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 03:51 PM

In the link I provided they also think that the Malahat should be tolled at peak times but that the money go directly into subsidizing an inexpensive express bus service between Nanaimo - Duncan - Victoria. That sounded like a reasonable alternative to building super expensive bridge. Still you don't want to toll the malahat with no other ways of getting to vic.


Now G-Man, why would you favour an express bus service over a commuter rail system based on the E&N?

#19 G-Man

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 03:58 PM

I wouldn't but I don't see the money coming quickly to up grade the rail line so bus service would be a quick solution.

Commuter rail if it could run quickly would be much preferred.

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#20 van-island

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 02:02 AM

Quite so.

Problem is, the bloody buses would get stuck in the same traffic as the rest of the lemmings. It's tough to see them keeping to any type of schedule through rush hour. It would definitely be a step in the right direction, although I think the jump right to a decent rail line would be much preferred, as you said.

Too bad all our gov't can think about is cars, cars, cars.

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