Halifax won’t see a new railway and truck corridor through the South End after all. The province has decided it’s too expensive.
The project was once a high priority for the Conservatives as part of the Atlantic Gateway initiative. But a new report estimates the project would cost $220 million. That’s almost three times the original projection of $80 million.
The corridor would have added truck lanes to an existing rail cut to increase traffic to and from the port.
“I am disappointed. When the cost was factored in, obviously it wasn’t doable,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Brooke Taylor.
“The cost clearly outweighed the benefit.”
Taylor said the corridor would have rerouted truck traffic and decreased congestion on city streets.
“Having said that we certainly are mindful that neither port is at or near full capacity. So there’s certainly still opportunities to grow and we have to work on attracting new markets to the ports.”
Communities and Residents for Sustainable Transportation (CREST) is warmly receiving the cancellation.
“Not only did the feasibility study show that this project would cost considerably more than the original estimate, but there were also major environmental, infrastructure and quality of life issues associated with paving the rail corridor,” said CREST president chair Ray Wagner in a press release.
“We believe the province made the right decision about this proposal.”
Northwest Arm-South End Coun. Sue Uteck lives right beside the corridor route.
She said she understood the project was too expensive, but was worried this might mean the federal money committed to it would be gone for good.
Uteck said Halifax lost millions in federal funding when it decided not to pursue the Commonwealth Games and she doesn’t want that to happen again. She wants the corridor money committed to other Atlantic Gateway projects.