Government must treat public Transportation as an essential public service

FREDERICTON – With gas prices nearing $2 per litre, Green Party leader and MLA for Fredericton South David Coon says it’s time for the Higgs government to recognize public transportation as an essential public service and invest carbon tax revenue to ensure it is widely accessible.

“Not everyone can afford a car, and with high gas prices many New Brunswickers are looking for alternative public transportation options,” said Coon. “This is our chance to take a bold, innovative, and forward-thinking approach to public transportation in NB.”

Over the past few years the federal government has made millions of dollars available to invest in public transportation; however, Premier Higgs opted out of receiving the funding for New Brunswick.

“I am baffled by the Premier’s indifference to those New Brunswickers who use, or could use, public transportation to connect with healthcare services, school or work,” said Coon. “Premier Higgs shouldn’t make the mistake of leaving federal money on the table again. Instead he needs to invest carbon tax revenue in public transportation to access the federal money.”

Coon says Premier Higgs must immediately give Transportation & Infrastructure Minister Jill Green the mandate to improve public transportation access across the province. Minister Green is responsible for a Crown Corporation called the New Brunswick Transportation Authority.

“The New Brunswick Transportation Authority could be used to coordinate public transportation services in urban and rural communities, and link them together,” added Coon.