Road tax or mobility pricing suggested in Metro Vancouver’s proposed Climate 2050 Transportation Roadmap

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      A proposed Metro Vancouver transportation plan includes a suggestion to support a road tax.

      That’s basically an extra tax on the use of publicly-funded road infrastructure.

      It also goes by the name of mobility pricing, which a draft of the transportation plan says is intended to “manage demand for roads”.

      Mobility pricing could take the form of either a congestion charge or distance charge.

      In 2018, a Mobility Pricing Independent Commission released its report on this subject.

      The commission reported that a regional congestion charge would cost the average paying household $5-$8 per day.

      Meanwhile, a multi-zone distance would cost the average paying household $3-$5 per day.

      "The estimated median weekday cost to households that pay into this system (without ever altering their behaviour) is in the range of $5.00-8.00 per day, and $1,800-2,700 per year," the commission noted.

      Metro Vancouver planners Morgan Braglewicz and Jason Emmert have prepared a report that is included in the agenda Friday (April 30) of the board of Metro Vancouver.

      The board is composed of elected politicians across the region.

      The staff report sought an endorsement by the board of the draft ‘Climate 2050 Transportation Roadmap’, and a plan to proceed with public engagement.

      The transportation plan is one of 10 ‘roadmaps’ that will guide the region in achieving goals identified in its Climate 2050 strategy.

      The overarching climate strategy, which is meant to reduce carbon emissions, secured the approval of Metro Vancouver in 2018.

      The transportation plan involves actions classified in six strategic areas.

      One of these is to reduce driving.

      “Preliminary modelling results indicate that completing these aggressive but achievable actions will have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions, with emissions from all transportation sectors potentially reduced by 30% below 2010 levels by 2030, and by over 85% by 2050,” Braglewicz and Emmert wrote.

      The planners also noted that emissions from light duty vehicles could achieve a reduction of over 40 percent by 2030 and can be carbon neutral by 2050.

      Attached to the staff report was the draft of the plan, which notes that a reduction in driving “contributes to many different goals”.

      These include “improving air quality and health impacts and managing traffic congestion as regional population grows”.

      One action listed to reduce driving is for Metro Vancouver to “support the development of mobility pricing in coordination with BC Government, TransLink and member jurisdictions”.

      “Any mobility pricing program for the region should prioritize reducing total driving distances and emissions, promoting fairness and equity, and should align with any low or zero emission zones in the region,” the draft stated.