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Bridge tolls: Just another half-baked idea from Montreal

Montreal’s new mayor has brought up the idea of putting tolls on all bridges around the island of Montreal as a means of footing the bill to replace the aging Champlain Bridge.

This move would have a major effect on the island of Montreal.

But let’s just look at what it would mean locally if tolls went up on the Galipeault Bridge on Highway 20 to Ile-Perrot and the Ile-aux-Tourtes Bridge on Highway 40 to Vaudreuil.

You would be hard pressed to find any motorist in the Off-Island region who would be happy with this move if it were to happen.

As Vaudreuil Mayor Guy Pilon said in a story written by reporter Jason Magder:  An alternative will have to be proposed “before you can ask for one penny.” And that alternative is improved public transit. As Pilon explained, motorist will not accept a toll if they are still going to sit in traffic during rush hour.

And he is right. You cannot expect Off-Islanders to pay just because Montreal has a problem.

Aside from motorists, tolls would also have a major impact on businesses in the Off-Island.

They would represent a trigger for even more development in the region. Given the choice, most Off-Islanders would opt not to cross a bridge to get onto the island of Montreal. They would prefer to do their shopping, go to a decent restaurant or conduct whatever business they require on their side of the bridge. And over the years, this has become easier as development has catered to providing many commercial outlets to accommodate them. Tolls on the bridges would merely serve to accelerate more development in the Off-Island.

But this raises one question for the mayor of Montreal: What benefit would this have for Montreal Island?

Brenda O’Farrell

To read Brenda O’Farrell’s blog on the same topic, but from a West Island perspective at westislandgazette.com, click here.

4 comments

  1. By Danny Smith

    If private business needed to raise money it would do so in the most efficient manner using existing infrastructure and resources. The government irresponsibly suggests creating a whole new infrastructure (tolls) to collect funds. Again, the middle class working person must pay. The automobile is here to stay, hopefully one day electric, and we should be responsible enough to build efficient roadways.

  2. so sure, he is going to collect a toll for everyone coming on island via a bridge. We should do the same, then. Sure, you can have the 2$/trip on island, but then our municipality should get the 2$ everytime you come off island. But truthfully, tolls aren’t the answer. For now they will say all the money that is collected will go into roadwork. Next year they will say “but we need half of it for healthcare”, the year after they will tell you they need to raise the toll rates because there is no money left due to them using the $$ to pay for stuff that is not related to the roads/driving at all.

  3. I love Montreal. I was born and raised there, and now I live in Vaudreuil. As much as I love my Island and the surrounding communities, I am becoming more and more disillusioned by politics at all levels, and it’s making me want to move. It seems like every government thinks that people who earn a decent, though not spectacular wage, are fair game for increased fees, taxes, tolls and being the scapegoat for whichever problem they are currently faced with. Especially if you are Anglophone, and especially if you live in a nice suburban area. Why must I pay so much out of pocket just because I have a good job? Why must we be forced to downgrade our quality of life to conform with those less fortunate in their employment choices or options?
    These proposed tolls just follow that model. Why should off-islanders, most of whom moved off island in order to be able to afford a better quality of life, be forced to pay to go shop, work, or visit not even Montreal city, but the island as a whole. What’s next? An extra fee for those who take public transit onto the island?
    I agree with Brenda… before Montreal looks to others to pad their purse, they should get their act together and fix their problems rather than deflecting attention elsewhere. Why should non-Mtl city dwellers, whether on the island or off, be forced to pay for their mistakes?

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