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Council Approves New Transit Tax Structure

(Tuesday, April 28, 2009) - A new transit tax structure that will help Halifax Regional Municipality improve bus service received Halifax Regional Council approval this evening.

Under the new structure, taxes will be raised using a combination of an assessment-based regional transit tax as well as a local transit rate paid by all properties within three kilometres of a bus stop.

“The new tax structure recognizes that transit services benefit our entire region, but some areas see more direct benefits than others,” said Mayor Peter Kelly. “The changes gives HRM more flexibility to improve service and expand transit’s reach where and when it’s needed.”

Under the old system, transit operational costs were primarily paid for by urban taxpayers.
Area rates were levied to pay for transit service in some communities outside the urban core. Much of the capital cost to pay for such things as new buses and ferries was covered though the general tax rate.

Transit expansion to suburban and rural communities was tied to the levying of complex area rates that proved cost-prohibitive to residents in some cases. Under the new system, transit costs will be shared more broadly across the region, making it easier to plan for effective growth.

“The new approach will help HRM expand the popular Metro Link service and provide for the launch of the new Metro X rural express service,” said Mayor Kelly.

The anticipated tax rates, which do not take effect until council approves the 2009/2010 budget, are:

? Regional Transit Tax - 2.2 cents per $100 of assessment. E.g. $39.60 on a house assessed at $180,000. All residential taxpayers, except those outside of the commuting area, will pay this rate.

? Local Transit Tax - 10.8 cents per $100 of assessment. E.g. $194.40 for a house assessed at $180,000. All residential taxpayers within a 3 km walking/driving distance of a transit stop will pay the local rate in addition to the regional rate.

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Mayor Peter Kelly

Shaune MacKinlay, Manager, Public Affairs




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