New Brunswick — The Government of New Brunswick announced today a plan to help reduce the provincial debt load: toll booths will be added to all major highways in an effort to bring the province out of the red. Construction of the booths will begin in the next weeks, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Roger Melanson said.
“We plan to have toll booths along all major highways throughout the province by the end of the spring, just in time for tourist season,” Melanson said. “If people are going to ‘drive through’ our province then we’re going to get what we can out of them as they do so.”
Out-of-province visitors will see the biggest fees at the tolls, Melanson explained. “If you have New Brunswick plates, you’ll only be charged $4 for your car, but if you’re from out of province, we’ll be charging double at $8 per vehicle.” The province doesn’t plan to completely punish out-of-towners, though. “If the tourists can provide a receipt or proof that they’re going to be staying in the province any length of time, they’ll be charged the regular rate. It’s only those who think they can pass right on through that are going to take a big hit.”
New Brunswickers can expect tolls erected in Welsford, Woodstock, Edmundston, Quispamsis, St. George, Sussex, Memramcook, Bathurst, Miramichi, Boiestown and Campbellton by the end of April.
“Since we’re not going to be fracking, we need to boost the economy in the province somehow,” Melanson elaborated. “Charging to drive on provincial highways will be just the kick in the arse this province needs. Look at Nova Scotia — they have a toll on their highway and they’re doing okay. We’re going to have 11 tolls and in the end we’re going to be 11 times better than those Bluenosers.”
When asked how adding so many tolls with affect New Brunswickers’ pockets, Melanson ducked the question, simply pointing back at the extra fees imposed on the “drive-through tourists.”
He also hinted at plans to add up to 9 more tolls on top of the original 11 in early 2016, bringing the total up to an even 20.