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Kelly Welcomes Transportation Authority Concept
(Thursday, March 27/2003)-- Mayor Peter Kelly welcomed the announcement in the Speech from the Throne today that the provincial government intends to work with HRM to establish a regional transportation authority for the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Mayor Kelly said senior officials representing HRM and the Province have been holding informal talks during the past number of months, with a view to setting up a regional authority to assume responsibility for all key transportation links in HRM, including the two Halifax harbour bridges.
The Mayor said both parties recognize the need for a transportation authority because of HRM's growing population and the need for more effective management, planning and fiscal control over major traffic and transportation links. Close to 40 per cent of Nova Scotia's population resides within HRM and significant growth is forecast for the next two decades.
Mayor Kelly said Greater Vancouver has a regional transportation authority that is responsible for transit, planning and funding major road networks, bridges and ferries. Its mandate is to plan and finance a regional transportation system that moves people and goods efficiently and supports the regional growth strategy, air quality objectives and economic development of the Greater Vancouver area.
The Mayor said the Greater Vancouver Authority is partially funded through a portion of the B.C. government's Gasoline Sales Tax, a consideration he and Halifax Regional Council have been pursuing with the Federal government and the Province of Nova Scotia for some time. The overall tax would not increase, but the municipal share would come from the current Federal and/or Provincial share.
The present joint HRM/Province of Nova Scotia concept calls for the regional transportation authority to be controlled by HRM, exercising its responsibility for harbour bridges, roads, rail, ferries and public transit.
"Both the Province and HRM recognize that the public good is best served by cooperation. The transportation authority will eliminate overlapping jurisdictions and allow us to move forward with transportation and economic growth priorities on a region-wide basis, " he said.
"Rather than competing for dollars, this is an excellent opportunity for HRM and the Province to work together to alleviate existing transportation problems and to plan jointly for the future. It would tie in perfectly with HRM's current Regional Planning initiative, and transportation is one of its major points of focus, " the Mayor concluded.
Mayor Peter Kelly