July 28, 2003

B.C. government retracts privatization plans for toll highway

Burnaby, B.C. – Significant opposition from angry citizens and a province-wide petition opposing the planned privatization of the Coquihalla toll highway, a vital link between Vancouver and the B.C. interior, were the main reasons that the B.C. provincial government decided to abandon its privatization plans last week.

“It’s very encouraging to see that the government has responded to the many British Columbians – many of them BCAA members – who shared our view that the proposed plan was not in the best long term interests of B.C. motorists,” said Bill Bullis, BCAA President and CEO. “A large majority of BCAA members surveyed told us they oppose the notion of continuing to pay tolls on
privatized road facilities, and the number of signatures collected by BCAA’s Coquihalla Petition Campaign bears that out.”

The Association’s province-wide petition opposing the planned Coquihalla privatization had garnered in excess of 20,000 signatures in the six weeks since the campaign began.

BCAA’s recently concluded 2003 member opinion survey revealed that 80 per cent of BCAA members surveyed remained opposed to the notion of privatizing existing transportation facilities, such as the Coquihalla Highway, to be operated as toll facilities. That translates into an estimated 580,000 British Columbians who would likely be opposed such a move.

BCAA has also pledged to continue consulting with government to help find alternative and acceptable solutions to meeting B.C.’s transportation challenges, added Bullis.

BCAA is the province’s largest member services association, working on behalf of its 725,000 members.

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