Increased tolls are required to pay for a major refitting of the Macdonald Bridge, according to Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission CEO Steve Snider.
HDBC filed an application to the Utility and Review board yesterday, asking for an increase on the tolls on both the Macdonald and the MacKay bridges.
If approved, cash commuters would see a 25 cent increase in fares, bringing the cost of crossing the harbour up to an even $1. MACPASS users will see a 20-cent increase to 80 cents per trip.
Commercial vehicles would see a per-axle increase.
Snider said the increased revenues would fund the replacement of the suspended span on the Macdonald Bridge — a project estimated to cost $137 million over the next four years.
“I don’t like paying more for anything, and I can understand the public’s concern about this,” Snider said. “Hopefully, if people take the time to consider what it is we’re applying for, and why we’re applying for it, they will find favour with it.”
If approved, the changes would come into effect early next year.
• Subsidies In March, Deputy Mayor Brad Johns suggested regional council consider increasing bridge tolls to subsidize Metro Transit, as well as combat the municipality’s $30-million budget deficit.
• Unrelated According to Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission CEO Steve Snider, the toll hikes proposed yesterday have nothing to do with the subsidy debate.
• Discussions “There have been some general discussions (with the city),” said Snider. “(But) no, the increase that we’re applying for is to serve the needs of the Bridge Commission.”
• Peninsular charge? Snider said he suggested the municipality charge a toll for driving onto the peninsula to subsidize public transit projects.