CALLS FOR FAIR EXCHANGE RATE AT THE BORDER
February 25th, 2011 - 8:59pm
Tolls fail to acknowledge virtual currency parity
Minister must take corrective action and apply International Bridges and Tunnels Act
[WINDSOR, ON] For well over a year the Canadian and US Dollar have been trading close to par, however if you are a frequent traveler at either Windsor border crossings paying in Canadian currency you’d never know it. The Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel continue to charge travelers paying in Canadian currency a disproportionately inflated toll rate to use their crossing.
NDP Member of Parliament and Border Critic Brian Masse (Windsor West) explained: “The Canadian Dollar has been near or above par for the better part of the last two years. Yet if you want to pay in Canadian currency when you cross the Ambassador Bridge or the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel you pay more. There is absolutely no reasonable explanation for different toll rates given the relative strength of the Canadian Dollar unless you factor in wanton greed.”
Canadian currency has been close to parity with the US for over a year and is predicted to remain very competitive. Windsor Tecumseh MP Joe Comartin noted: “There is consensus among most economists that monitor currency valuations that the Loonie will trade close to or above par against the US Dollar for the foreseeable future, as it has for the better part of the last 2 years. Given this stability there is no reason that prices cannot be brought back in line at our local border crossings to reflect this reality.”
Masse is demanding that Minister of Transportation Infrastructure and Communities Chuck Strahl intervene to bring fairness to travellers paying in Canadian currency. “When you price out the potential fleecing of travelers paying in Canadian currency over the last 2 years the numbers are likely into the Millions of dollars. The overwhelming majority of crossings across the province make no currency distinction with respect to tolls. This antiquated system is completely unfair especially in a community that suffers the negative impacts of a high dollar so dramatically. It is only equitable therefore that we should be able to reap some of the positive aspects that a strong dollar affords. I am asking the Minister of Transport to assert his authority and apply the International Bridges and Tunnels Act to correct this unacceptable continued gouging.” Masse stated.