The Green Party on Rapid Transit in HRM
Here’s another round of responses about rapid transit from provincial candidates! This time we’re talking about the Green Party. (For the NDP’s responses, click here. For the Liberals’ responses, click here.)
The Green Party didn’t send us a single response from the party, but several candidates, including the party leader, Jo-Ann Roberts, sent us detailed responses. Here are some highlights!
1. If elected, will you commit your support to the Province contributing its third of the total capital costs needed to complete Halifax Transit’s Mill Cove fast ferry project?
Jo-Ann Roberts (Halifax Armdale): “A very firm YES!!!” Noah Hollis (Halifax Citadel-Sable Island) added that he would support “fast-tracking of the current ferry proposals at Mill Cove as well as Larry Uteck.”
2. If elected, will you commit your support to the Province contributing its third of the total capital costs of Halifax Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit project?
Jo-Ann Roberts (Halifax Armdale): again, “a very firm YES!!!”
Skylar Martini (Dartmouth South) added that “to remain neutral or oppose projects that seek to improve the access and reliability of bussing would be a direct snub to so many who don’t have other options and rely on these systems. So I would also 100% support the rapid transit system project.”
And Noah Hollis (Halifax Citadel-Sable Island) made the connection between Halifax Transit’s current BRT plans and long-term planning for a future light rail network: “I strongly support building the foundations of a future rail system with the Bus Rapid Transit project and would support provincial contribution to its capital costs.”
[Updated Aug. 11, 2021:] Lily Barraclough (Halifax Chebucto) adds: “The bus rapid transit project is critical to bringing accessible transit to many people in Halifax. If elected would push the province to support this project and contribute to the total capital costs in order to launch this project.”
3. Do you believe that public transit options in HRM are currently adequate? If not, if you are elected, how do you and your party intend to make transit in HRM better?
Skylar Martini’s (Dartmouth South) response:
Our transit system while a very valuable and integral part of life in urban areas is not providing equal access or opportunity to all members of all communities. If elected I would pursue a plan that revitalizes public transit and transforms it into a 21st century system that people are excited to use by ensuring that transit options run on consistent and reliable schedules with more frequency. This change would in turn reduce the number of cars on the road each day and would allow Nova Scotia to not only set an example but target a big cause of climate change. I would also push for the electrification of our transit systems to further aid in our fight against climate change. Making all forms of transit accessible, dependable and sustainable is a crucial step towards Nova Scotia’s future and if we don’t take action now it may become too late down the road.
Noah Hollis’ (Halifax Citadel-Sable Island) response:
I believe public transit is grossly inadequate in the HRM. This is part of a larger problem of suburban sprawl that creates a bottleneck of cars into the peninsula on the daily. In a car-centric culture, public transit supports have to ensure reliability of service, the option being faster than the car, and and integration with people’s living situations. Green Party MLAs will advocate for free universal public transit access and wide expansion of provincial funding for regional rail and bus services to help revitalize our rural communities. As a NUMTOT, I’m a strong advocate of LRT and commuter rail. If we have the money for highway twinning every year, we have the money for this. Building rail in the HRM (on the foundations of the BRT plan, with a connecting route to the airport) has to be a top priority to ensure efficiency and sustainability as our population influx continues to grow. We cannot wait around and start environmental assessments in 2030, just for the project to be overbudget and overdue and finally open in 2045. The next legislature needs to recognize how public transit is core to creating liveable and green communities for the generations to come and take the bold steps now to invest.