KELOWNA, B.C. — Kelowna may get a new bridge but it appears it will be funded through increased tolls and fuel taxes throughout the Okanagan valley.
Mayors from Vernon, Penticton and Kelowna have been in discussions recently, and have come to the conclusion the best way to fund the valley’s highways is to increase fuel taxes by two cents a litre, as well as boosting the tolls on the Coquihalla.
“The position we take is the Okanagan has been denied a fair level of funding over 10 years and we hoped things would get better with this government, but there is no money in the till,” Kelowman Mayor, Walter Gray tells local media. “We have a transportation problem in the valley and it will be some time before the province has sufficient money.”
Gray is urging his counterparts in other municipalities to consider transportation a valley-wide issue. However, some mayors have reservations about seeing the majority of the money raised through the new initiatives sunk into a bridge in Kelowna.
“The only way this is going to work is if it’s a truly regional plan and not us advocating our pet projects,” says Vernon Mayor, Sean Harvey.
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