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Three levels of government spending $258 million on Bedford-Halifax ferries

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A new electric ferry service will receive a quarter of a billion dollars to start operations between Halifax and Bedford in the next four years.

According to a Monday news release from the Nova Scotia government, the Mill Cove Ferry Service will get more than $258 million for five electric ferries, two terminals, and a maintenance facility. The project is expected to be completed by the 2027-2028 fiscal year.

“With the growth we are continuing to see, so is the need to make sustainable transportation competitive with personal vehicles,” said Halifax mayor Mike Savage in the release. “Not only will this improved ferry service help people get around faster, it will also promote continuous growth surrounding the terminal and establish a consistent community hub.”

The federal government will spend $155.7 million on the project while the provincial government and the Halifax Regional Municipality will pitch in $65 and $38 million, respectively.

“No more studies, no more plans, no more market studies, no more consultation, no more funding debates. This is happening,” said Tim Outhit, Bedford-Wentworth councillor.

The service, which will connect Bedford to downtown Halifax, will replace the aging ferry terminal in Halifax and build a new one at Mill Cove, both of which will be net-zero.

A rendering of the new Halifax ferry terminal. (Source: Province of Nova Scotia)

“People will be able to travel from Bedford to downtown Halifax in 18 minutes, catching the ferry every 15 minutes at rush-hour,” said Dave Reage, executive director of Halifax Transit.

The ferry will have a top speed of 20 knots and will carry 150 to 200 passengers. Transportation professor Asham Habib says the ferry will significantly reduce traffic in the city.

“I think this is ground breaking for Halifax,” said Habib.

“Both the Bedford Highway, as well as the 102, is at capacity.

There will also be a bridge built over the CN rail line in Bedford to connect vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians to the Mill Cove terminal.

“This project addresses road traffic in the area and helps us plan for future population growth,” said Environment and Climate Change Minister Timothy Halman in the release. “The new ferry route will also encourage people to use public transportation and help us meet our climate change goals by using fast zero-emission electric ferries.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Jonathan MacInnis.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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