Transportation Minister Keven Falcon had letters to the editor this week in both the Vancouver Sun and the Times Colonist saying, “The new Port Mann Bridge will not cost taxpayers a dime.”
He was saying that the bridge will be paid for by tolls but he seems to have forgotten that people who cross the bridge actually do pay taxes. For them, the toll on the bridge is just one more tax.
How much tax? Well if the Minister is correct and the toll comes in at $3.00 per crossing, it will cost $1,500 per year for someone to drive back and forth to work. That’s if the toll doesn’t come in above $3.00 and I’m not holding my breath on that one.
There is an interesting tie in here to an earlier change the government made in labour legislation. When employers called you into work they used to have to guarantee four hours. That was changed to a two hour minimum call in (one of the many reductions in BC’s employment standards made between 2002 and 2004).
So let’s say you make $10 an hour and get the minimum call in. You make $20 that day and you pay $6.00 to get back and forth to work. That’s a tax of 30%.
If you are one of BC’s 115,000 minimum wage earners, you are even worse off. After all, the toll on the bridge goes up by as much as 2.5% annually. Minimum wage workers don’t get a pay increase. The minimum wage has been frozen for eight years.