POLITICS

Tolls could pay for twinned highways in Nova Scotia: transportation minister

04/28/2015 10:52 EDT | Updated 08/02/2015 01:59 EDT
HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia government says tolls might be the answer to safer highways.

Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan says a lot of tax money is put into building and maintaining highways, but that's not enough to develop twin highways in a timely fashion.

MacLellan's comments came as road safety reports were released Tuesday recommending that certain stretches of highways 101, 103 and 104 be twinned or expanded.

He says his department will begin a feasibility study on the sections of those highways with a 10,000 vehicle per day or greater flow of traffic.

He says the study will look at the possibility of both twinning and tolls and findings will be presented to the public for consideration.

He says he has been hearing more positive feedback from the public about tolls than ever before.

"The reality is, the word 'tolling' is a very politically sensitive and scary word for politicians. But ... people see the realities of our finances," MacLellan said in an interview.

"If it's a 'Yes,' we'll develop a plan to move forward and build these infrastructure projects and develop our highways. If it isn't, we'll stick to the current capital plan."

But under that plan, it would take decades to twin any of Nova Scotia's highways, MacLellan said.