Confederation Bridge toll increase a surprise, says trucking group

·2 min read
Jean-Marc Picard of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association says the bridge toll increase is only one of many things getting more expensive for the trucking industry. (Skype - image credit)
Jean-Marc Picard of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association says the bridge toll increase is only one of many things getting more expensive for the trucking industry. (Skype - image credit)

An increase in the 2022 Confederation Bridge toll came as a surprise to the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA).

On Monday, Strait Crossing Bridge Ltd. announced rate increases for the upcoming year.

But after no increase last year, due to low inflation rates, APTA executive director Jean-Marc Picard said the group was hoping for a break again this year.

"Everything is going up lately for the trucking industry, fuel, insurance, equipment," said Picard.

"This is just another thing that we'll have to either absorb or pass on to consumers, but [we're] assuming it's going to be the latter."

There are also already some who think the bridge toll should be less than the current amount.

P.E.I. Sen. Percy Downe, who has been advocating on this issue in Ottawa for years, said Quebec residents don't pay a toll on the federally owned Champlain Bridge in Montreal.

CBC
CBC

He would like to see the crossing costs for both the N.S.-P.E.I. ferry and Confederation Bridge reduced.

"Both bridges are owned by the government of Canada, one is free and we are paying over $50," Downe said.

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King said the increasing cost to Islanders to get to the mainland is also something that he is paying attention to.

"I'm not sure what we can do here, but it is becoming more and more of a challenge and an impediment here and I'd like to find a way for it to come down or be removed, but [I'm] not sure how to do that," King said.

Confederation Bridge
Confederation Bridge

Meanwhile, bridge traffic was down again in 2021 because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, said Strait Crossing Bridge Ltd. general manager Michel Le Chasseur.

"We actually had more commercial traffic this year than last year. Having said that, we now have the potato issue where the U.S. border is closed and that has had an impact on bridge traffic, in the past three weeks, for sure."

Now with more travel restrictions because of COVID-19, Le Chasseur said he is bracing for another challenging year ahead in 2022.

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