FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THE FEDERAL BRIDGE CORPORATION ANNOUNCES ADJUSTMENTS TO TOLL RATES AT THE BLUE WATER BRIDGE
OTTAWA, March. 10, 2016 /CNW/ – The Federal Bridge Corporation Limited (FBCL) announced today that the Corporation is proceeding with a toll adjustment at the Blue Water Bridge location effective April 1st, 2016. This adjustment is to compensate for the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar, which has significantly declined vis-à-vis the United States (U.S.) dollar, and general economic conditions associated with bridge operations.
The current Canadian dollar exchange rate has challenged revenues due to a significant decline in passenger vehicles and loss on exchange of less U.S. dollars collected. Typically, when the gap between the two currencies widens, U.S. customers tend to pay in Canadian currency. This is less evident when the currency gap is small and the Corporation benefits from the currency exchange.
Canadian toll rates at the Blue Water Bridge will be adjusted by 50 cents effective April 1st, 2016 to a rate of $4.00 Canadian for a typical passenger vehicle with a similar adjustment to commercial toll rates. FBCL recognizes that an adjustment based on the current exchange rates would have resulted in a toll rate of up to $4.70 that would have been too great; it opted instead for a phased approach. In keeping with industry best practices, FBCL will be evaluating future toll rates on April 1st and on October 1st of each year by integrating systematic exchange rate calculations as well as other economic factors.
FBCL will also eliminate the sale of tokens by selling remaining tokens up to April 1st, 2016, (or while supplies last) and will phase out the program all-together. Tokens are available within the lanes or at the currency exchange kiosk. The sale of tokens will be limited to 2 rolls per customer. No coupons or tickets will be issued for future redemption for token rolls. Tokens in circulation will continue to be accepted. A commuter discount program will be made available later this year.
The last toll adjustment at the Blue Water Bridge, in 2013, was set at a time when the Canadian dollar was at par with the U.S. dollar. However, over the past year, the value of the Canadian dollar has significantly declined, reaching decade lows versus the U.S. dollar. The new adjustments are necessary to maintain the sustainability of bridge operations. The flow of revenue is required to properly operate, maintain and repair the bridge and address long term debt obligations.
This change will align the Blue Water Bridge location with other international crossings, where tolls are regularly adjusted based on the value of the exchange rate and economic needs.
FBCL owns, manages and operates international bridges and associated structures in Sault Ste. Marie, Point Edward, Lansdowne (Thousand Islands) and Cornwall, Ontario. FBCL’s mandate is to provide the highest level of stewardship so that its international bridges and associated structures are safe and efficient for users.