City hall is reading over a sure-to-be controversial transit report that recommends hiking costs for car drivers to pay for more public transit.
The five-year plan predicts Metro Transit ridership will jump by three million to 23 million total in 2014, and serving this growing market will be expensive.
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Between expanding the fleet and replacing aging vehicles, the independent report says Metro Transit will have to buy more than 100 new buses at a cost of $53.7 million.
The report recommends targeting drivers for the extra money. Increased parking fees and more parking meters were central suggestions for finding new funding. The report determined people are less likely to take the bus if they have access to free parking.
Other suggestions include a vehicle registration levy and various taxes, such as new gasoline and property taxes.
The report also recommends raising bridge tolls from .75 cents to a dollar, but council doesn’t have the authority to make that move unilaterally.
Looking ahead long-term, the report said HRM needs to start seriously thinking about shutting off part of the downtown to cars. It outlined Barrington Street and Spring Garden Road as potential bus-only corridors.
The report has been presented to council and will come up for discussion tomorrow.