Flying cars could one day help drivers avoid Port Mann bridge tolls
The B.C. government revealed in its February budget that it expects road tolls to cover the entire operating and capital costs of the $3.3-billion Port Mann Bridge. This was unearthed by Thomas Ian McLeod's Fraseropolis blog—and he's skeptical that these levies will meet the overall expense of constructing and maintaining the structure.
Meanwhile, TransLink is relying on tolls to offset the cost of building the Golden Ears Bridge. But in a post last year, McLeod noted that tolls are now only forecast to pay half the capital and operating costs of this crossing between Langley and Pitt Meadows.
But what if technology soon makes it easy for commuters in cars to get across the Fraser River without using a bridge or tunnel? If this catches on, it has the potential to create more financial headaches for the people who run the regional transportation system.
Don't be so quick to ridicule the idea. Two companies have already demonstrated prototypes of flying cars.
The Dutch-based Pal-V Europe NV has successfully completed test flights of its Personal Air and Land Vehicle. It offers the operator the choice of driving it on the road or flying it in the air.
Flying range is between 350 and 500 kilometres, depending on wind and other conditions. On the road, the Pal-V can travel 1,200 kilometres.
It reaches speeds of 180 kilometres an hour on the ground and in the air.
The company claims that with its short take-off and landing capability, it's possible to land the car practically anywhere, even on grass.
That's not the only alternative. A Massachusetts company, Terrafugia, has developed the 650-kilogram Transition, which also flies through the air. But it's not cheap—the list price is expected to be $279,000.
The Terrafugia, which reaches speeds of 185 kilometres per hour in the air and on the road, was designed by engineers educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Not only could flying cars hinder the collection of bridge tolls, they just might create a lot more work in the future for air-traffic controllers.
Scroll down to see images of the two models of flying cars.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.