Legislature weighs in on the Coq debate

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KAMLOOPS, B.C. – While the B.C. Liberals continue to look at ways of improving the long-term viability of the Coquihalla, a local MLA insists it’s not for sale.

Kamloops MLA, Claude Richmond, recently told local media “We’re not going to sell the Coquihalla. The highway is a provincial asset owned by the people and it will always remain so.”

Speculation has run rampant that B.C.’s only toll highway would be up for sale with the province examining the possibility of inking a public-private partnership (P3).

Recently, BMO Nesbitt Burns was hired to conduct a study on the viability of forming a P3 for the Coq.

It’s possible the province will consider leasing the highway to a private firm that would then collect toll revenues. It’s unclear who would set the toll rates if that was the case.

Another local MLA, Kevin Krueger from Kamloops-North Thompson, says his constituents are opposed to the idea since they take that as a sign the tolls will remain indefinitely.

“People have had an expectation tolls would disappear eventually,” says Krueger. “I’ve told government that’s what the expectation is.”

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