Border tunnel reopened to welcome visitors with higher tolls – .

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Border tunnel reopened to welcome visitors with higher tolls – .


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When American travelers return to Canada at the Windsor-Detroit tunnel in less than two weeks, they will also be greeted with higher through tolls.

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The Windsor-side increase for those who drive passenger vehicles and have Canadian money in their pockets jumps 37% to $ 6.50 per crossing on Aug. 9, from $ 4.75 before the pandemic. For those paying in US cash, the increase is 11% smoother, from US $ 4.50 to US $ 5.

“We haven’t had a toll increase for six years,” said Carolyn Brown, CEO of Windsor Detroit Borderlink Ltd. the owners of the American half billed.

If we’re inundated with traffic I’d be more than happy

Brown describes the decision to raise the toll as part of the “normal course of business,” but international transit operators also have a budget eye on another looming deficit caused by the pandemic due to the low number of travelers allowed across the border. frontier.

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Vehicles enter the Windsor-Detroit tunnel in Windsor on Wednesday, July 28, 2021. The tunnel increases tariffs before the border reopens. Photo de Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

Only essential travel is currently permitted through Canada-US land border crossings. Brown said weekday passenger vehicle traffic through the tunnel was down 70% from pre-COVID levels (from about 10,800 daily passes to 3,200 now), while weekend crossings end are down 91% (to around 1,000 vehicles per day).

As a result, the tunnel recorded a deficit of $ 6 million between the closure of non-essential trips in mid-March 2020 and the end of the year. This shortfall was covered by the city through special fund transfers from the federal and provincial governments.

Last month, tunnel operators announced a cumulative deficit of $ 2.4 million for the quarterly period from January to April 2021. No announcement has yet been made on whether top governments will step in again this year. with more help. In a letter to federal cabinet ministers earlier this month, Mayor Drew Dilkens, seeking urgent financial assistance, cited projections showing the tunnel could face a $ 7 million deficit for 2021.

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“We are not going to fix this deficit by increasing tolls,” Brown told The Star on Wednesday.

The Windsor-Detroit tunnel inspection area in Windsor is shown on Wednesday July 28, 2021. The tunnel increases tariffs before the border reopens. Photo de Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

Tunnel operators are ready for the resumption of non-essential border traffic but do not expect the number to increase.

“A determining factor will be the test people have to take before arriving at the border,” said Brown, referring to a requirement that Americans wishing to visit Canada must show proof of a recent COVID-19 test. negative. A number of travelers will also be randomly selected at the border and undergo rapid testing by health officials stationed at land border entry points, including at the tunnel’s Windsor Square.

“If we’re inundated with traffic, I’d be more than happy,” said Brown, who expects many of the first discretionary travelers to be those reconnecting with family or checking out vacation cabins and other properties.

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It remains unclear when non-essential Canadian travel will be permitted into the United States at land border crossings.

Travelers from the United States are no longer allowed to use cash to pay the transit toll. The Canadian portion will also become cashless by the end of 2021, with tolls to be paid by swiping or tapping on debit or credit cards.

To save a few dollars on each trip, the tunnel operator is encouraging motorists to sign up for its Nexpress program, which Brown describes as easy to use and “the cheapest way” to cross the border. Using a credit card to register online, users deposit a sum (currently $ 100 minimum but with plans to reduce that) that does not expire and from which each border crossing toll is deducted.

The Nexpress toll will remain the same at US $ 3.95 for those drawing US funds, while the current toll of CA $ 3.95 per pass will rise to CA $ 5.15 on August 9 – a 30% increase but still a 21% discount compared to cash. ring.

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A vehicle leaves the Windsor-Detroit tunnel in Windsor on Wednesday, July 28, 2021. The tunnel increases tariffs before the border reopens.
A vehicle leaves the Windsor-Detroit tunnel in Windsor on Wednesday, July 28, 2021. The tunnel increases tariffs before the border reopens. Photo de Dan Janisse /Windsor Star



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