Nesbitt to study tolling of B.C. highways

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — The B.C. government has picked BMO Nesbitt Burns to find a willing dance partner for the privatization of the Coquihalla Highway.

The Coquihalla and Sea to Sky Highways are two transportation projects the B.C. government has identified as prime targets for public-private partnerships — part of an effort to improve the province’s aging infrastructure.

Nesbitt has reportedly been contracted to prepare a proposal to potential partners who could take over the existing highway into the Okanagan, with a commitment to upgrade various sections.

Nesbitt was involved in the biggest privatization deal to date: Ontario’s Hwy. 407.

Officials at the B.C. Ministry of Transportation deny the government is already putting a proposal together for the Coquihalla.

The picturesque Sea to Sky Highway, which connects Whistler to Vancouver, is seen as another possible public-private partnership, as the province is determined to make the necessary upgrades for the Vancouver Olympic bid.

But local residents and other regular users are just as determined not to have to cope with a toll.

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