Letters to MLAs re: Coquihalla privatization

The following letter was sent to the four MLAs in the North Okanagan Labour Council's area:

May 15, 2003

The members of the North Okanagan Labour Council wish to join with many other of your constituents in voicing our opposition to the government's plans to lease the Coquihalla Highway to a private contractor and raise tolls.

We urge you to please stand up on behalf of your constituents and tell your government not to proceed with these plans.

Important pieces of public infrastructure, like the Coquihalla Highway, the main link between the Interior and Coast, should not be given away to private operators in sweetheart, lifetime deals.

We believe important public assets such as our highways should remain publicly owned and operated, so the people's interest and safety, not the profit interest, remains the top priority.

We are also concerned the government will not be able to live up to its promise to properly monitor the contractor due to cuts that have gutted Ministry of Transportation staff.

Our members are appalled as well at the prospect of paying higher tolls to drive the highway. We fail to understand how anyone can claim a 30 per cent increase in rates can be considered reasonable.

Interior residents have been punished for years by being forced to pay a toll that no other region's drivers are required to pay. This new policy assures tolls will only increase and takes away any faint hope we had of them being removed someday - as we were promised when they were put in place.

The frequent-user rates, highly touted by your government, will benefit only a small minority of drivers. This privatization and toll-raising scheme offers nothing but more hardship and costs for residents of the Interior.

We ask you as our MLA to get onside with your constituents and oppose this poorly devised privatization plan.

David Doran,
North Okanagan Labour Council


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