Congestion pricing study ‘on hold’ in Canada

| 9/8/2008

Research into congestion pricing in Canada is no longer moving forward, and officials say the reason is strictly procedural. Others say the upcoming federal election has something to do with it because congestion pricing is sure to alienate voters.

Transport Canada spokesman Patrick Charette told Land Line that the department has withdrawn the tolling study because a request for proposals sent out by department officials “did not follow proper administrative procedures.”

“It was a department decision,” Charette said Monday, Sept. 8, adding that it’s not likely to be back on the table in the foreseeable future.

“The research is on hold,” he said.

The timing of the announcement, Saturday, Sept. 6, occurred one day before Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called for a federal election, and Canadian news media are drawing a connection. Prime Minister Harper called for the federal election to take place Oct. 14. Click here to read a related story.

CTV Toronto reported that Canadian Minister of Transportation Lawrence Cannon ordered the cancellation of the study after reading details of it in the Globe and Mail newspaper.

CTV provided a theory that congestion tolling would prove to be unpopular with voters.

A spokeswoman for Cannon was out of the office Monday and unable to be reached.

The congestion pricing study was to be called “A Comprehensive Study of Pricing as a Tool for Inducing Greater Efficiency and Sustainability in Urban Transportation in Canada, 2008.”

Transport Canada had issued requests for proposals to firms interested in doing the study to research traffic and possible toll rates for major roadways in the metro areas of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton.

– By David Tanner, staff writer