Mayor Pilon says MRC considering on-line petition to reduce A30 Express toll fees
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon announced at the Monday evening council meeting that the MRC is considering starting an on-line petition to get Autoroute 30 toll fees for Vaudreuil-Soulanges residents reduced.
Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon said the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges is considering starting an on-line petition in an effort to get fees at the Autoroute 30 toll booth reduced.
The issue was raised during question period at the Monday evening council meeting February 6, by resident André Tanguay who asked whether the city had met with MRC representatives to discuss the matter.
As of February 1, the A30 Express raised the cash toll fee per crossing to $2.80 from $2.50 for all passenger vehicles with a height lower than 230 centimeters. The toll for passenger vehicles with transponders remains unchanged at $2.50.
“We discussed the issue at the MRC because it’s a regional problem and it doesn’t only affect Vaudreuil-Dorion,” said Pilon. “There’s nothing that can be done, that’s what we’ve been told. Instead, we plan to launch a petition.”
Rather than having regional mayors try to push the issue, Pilon said a petition is a better option because if 5000 citizens sign it, it could have more leverage in getting the private-public consortium that operates the toll-booth and A30 express bridge to consider reducing the tolls for Vaudreuil-Soulanges residents to a more reasonable level.
“If the Ministry of Transport receives a petition with 5000 signatures they will have to look at it more seriously,” said Pilon. “I will sit with some of the members of the MRC and see if it’s possible to launch something on the internet. This will be better than having a petition on paper. We also plan on having more towns and people involved.”
Toll booth location ‘unfair’
As it stands, the location of the toll booth, just south of the Soulanges Canal close to Les Cèdres, unfairly puts the financial burden not only onto the shoulders of Vaudreuil-Dorion residents who want to travel to Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, but it also affects residents of neighbouring St. Lazare and Île-Perrot, said Pilon.
He added that motorists from Sorel-Tracy can travel 145 kilometers eastbound along Autoroute 30 to reach Salaberry-de-Valleyfield without incurring any toll.
A more equitable solution would have been to place the toll booth somewhere in the middle of Autoroute Highway 30 between Les Cèdres and Châteauguay or to have built a second toll booth at the eastern entrance to Autoroute 30 near Châteauguay which would have resulted in substantially more revenue being raised, said Pilon.
Increased truck traffic
One unintended consequence of having the toll booth at its current location is that truckers and other motorists travelling along Autoroute 20 can easily avoid paying the fees entirely by taking Exit 14 onto Highway 201 which goes through Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and connects to Autoroute 530.
This option has resulted in truck traffic more than doubling on Boulevard Monseigneur Langlois (Highway) 201, according to Pilon. He added it’s possible that Salaberry-de-Valleyfield residents could also be invited to sign the petition.
Pilon said he’s not opposed to the private-public consortium that operates the toll booth and A30 Express Bridge from making money, but wants a more reasonable fee structure.
“People of Vaudreuil-Soulanges should not be taken hostage because the toll booth was put there,” said Pilon. “Maybe they could issue motorists with a special tag to reduce the fees because we are the only ones that are affected by this.”