Halifax to get 60 electric buses and upgrade transit hub with $ 112 million investment

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The three levels of government on Thursday announced a joint investment of $ 112 million to bring 60 new battery-powered electric buses to Halifax, bringing the Halifax Regional Municipality closer to its goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

Once in service, the buses are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 3,800 tonnes per year by 2030.

The federal government is contributing $ 44.8 million, the province is contributing $ 37 million, and the Halifax Regional Municipality is contributing $ 29.8 million to the joint investment.

The funding will also be used to purchase chargers for the buses, expand the Ragged Lake transit hub to house the new fleet, and retrofit the facility, including solar panels, to a net zero standard.

“This investment indicates that we are unabashedly in favor of public transit, that we know the residents of this community want to take the bus or the ferry,” said Halifax Mayor Mike Savage.

“The electrification of public transport is essential to our belief that cities and communities can grow responsibly, that we can build complete and connected communities where people can access the services they need without stepping into a car. ”

According to Patricia Hughes, Head of Planning and Customer Engagement at Halifax Transit, there are currently approximately 340 standard diesel buses, as well as “other paratransit and specialty (bus) sub-fleets” in HRM.

Savage said the switch to electric vehicles would be “transformative” for Halifax. He thanked the different levels of government for coming together to help HRM achieve its climate change mitigation goals.

“This investment in Atlantic Canada’s first electric transit fleet is a testament to the commitments we have made to be better citizens of our planet through our HalifACT climate strategy,” he added.

Halifax MP Andy Fillmore said the infrastructure we invest in today has the potential to “lock in carbon emissions and use for decades to come, for lives to come, so that the decisions we make today have ramifications far beyond today ”.

Fillmore, who is also Parliamentary Secretary to the Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, noted that Canada broke its previous record for the hottest temperature on record this summer, signaling the need for immediate action.

“The climate crisis is here. We have to do whatever it takes at all levels of government, in all sectors of society to fight it and every Canadian has a role to play, ”he added.

The provincial government has a similar goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 53% from 2005 levels by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions in Nova Scotia by 2050.

Premier Iain Rankin said he was proud to have partners who will help Nova Scotia “leap into the sustainable revolution” while developing a “more sustainable and inclusive economy” after COVID-19.

Erin Burbidge, director of policy and planning at the Clean Foundation, praised the investment by all three levels of government to help Halifax convert its bus fleet to electricity as it will allow the city to catch up with other Canadian cities in this pursuit.

“This common commitment to lead the electrification of our bus fleet is a really positive indicator and it’s 60 buses to start, it’s a pretty big fleet that we have, but I think it’s a very good base. to lean on, ”she said.

Burbidge said she would be interested to see if the ferries will also be “modified” to reduce their carbon footprint, but believes that “the entire Halifax transit system has a lot of potential.”

While nothing is set in stone, HRM is currently exploring options of an electric ferry for a new ferry route from Bedford to downtown Halifax, the design of a new net zero terminal as well as access and site design.

Ben Hammer is the transit agent for the Green Action Center. He is pleasantly surprised by a joint investment of $ 112 million from all three levels of government to electrify the Halifax Transit bus fleet and that 60 more electric buses will help increase the frequency of services, making public transit an option. more viable transportation for Haligonians. – Contributed

Ben Hammer, a transit officer at the Ecology Action Center, said he was “very pleasantly surprised” that Thursday’s announcement was to bring 60 electric buses to Halifax, exceeding HRM’s electrification strategy. ” have an estimated maximum of 54 electric buses in a renovated Ragged Lake. Transit center.

Hammer also didn’t expect the facility to be modernized to a net zero standard.

“And I’m encouraged that the next phase of fleet electrification, the rebuilding and upgrading of the Burnside Transit Center, will provide electric bus capacity for a fully electric fleet on the road,” he said. he adds.

Hammer also noted that the addition of electric buses to Halifax Transit’s fleet will allow “greater frequency, more flexibility and more freedom to discover and explore the city using public transportation,” making public transit a priority. more viable transportation option for Haligonians.

“To quote Jarrett Walker, public transport advocate and planner, ‘Frequency is freedom.’ The more people have access to more frequent buses, the more flexible their use is, ”he said.

Construction of the Ragged Lake Transit Center is expected to begin in 2022 and be completed by 2023.

A call for tenders for electric buses will be launched this summer. All buses are expected to be delivered by 2024, with the first deliveries due in 2023.



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