HALIFAX, NS – Cumberland South MLA Jamie Baillie and Cumberland North MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin are frustrated by the McNeil Liberals lack of clarity on the Cobequid Pass tolls. They say tolls should be removed for all motorists in 2019.
Today, at the Legislature’s Public Accounts Committee, Paul LaFleche, the Deputy Minister for Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, and Peter Hackett, President of the Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation are providing an update on the Cobequid Pass.
“We’re no closer to finding out if the tolls will actually be removed in 2019. The department says that bonds on the highway will be paid off by 2019, but that doesn’t mean the tolls will totally come off,” says Baillie. “Residents of Cumberland County deserve to know when Stephen McNeil will get rid of the entire Cobequid Pass toll.”
In the Western Alignment Act it states that once the debt is paid off, the tolls will come off. Mr. LaFleche and Mr. Hackett said today that once the tolls are removed the commitment is to remove tolls for Nova Scotian motorists, but there is no commitment for non-Nova Scotian motorists and commercial trucks.
“The tolls left for commercial trucks and non-Nova Scotian motorists still leaves a burden on residents of Cumberland County. It’s frustrating because everything that comes in and out of Cumberland is taxed more,” says Smith-McCrossin. “Nowhere else in the province is there this extra cost to businesses and families.”
Since 2015, this Liberal government has flip-flopped multiple times on this issue. Whenever it’s convenient for the Liberals they pick either 2019 or 2026.
“When it comes to roads and toll passes, Cumberland County residents deserve to be treated fairly and equally,” says Smith-McCrossin.” Families and business-owners have been burdened and taxed to the max. Residents don’t deserve to be treated like this.”
Baillie and Smith-McCrossin are demanding the McNeil Liberals finally remove the tolls on the Cobequid Pass.