MERRITT, B.C. — A group of Southern Interior municipalities are considering purchasing B.C.’s only toll highway to prevent the price gauging that may result from privatization.
Merritt Mayor, Bob Baird, has been pushing the idea, stating he has already put together a group of interested communities that are interested in buying the Coquihalla Highway. He says the municipalities can borrow the money at Municipal Finance Authority rates, which can’t be matched within the private sector. The revenue generated by the toll highway, would then be earmarked for other regional transportation projects.
“We can borrow the money to but that thing,” Baird recently told local media. “Privatizing it will just wreck it for everyone, that’s what (B.C. Premier) Gordon Campbell and his crew are all about. They just want a lump sum to pay down the deficit they created when they made the big error of lowering taxes without doing their homework.”
He went on to lash out at Campbell and Transportation Minister, Judith Reid, for taking steps to privatize the highway behind closed doors — a move that could cost motorists and trucking companies substantially more money.
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