Funding is now in place for the planning and design phase of a new net-zero emissions Burnside Transit Centre in Dartmouth, N.S., expected to replace the existing facility by about 2028, officials said Tuesday.
The $20.8 million cost of the first phase of the project is being shared by the provincial and municipal governments, at $7.1 million each, and more than $6.5 million from Ottawa.
Planning for the centre will include which fuel source will be used — electricity or possibly hydrogen.
According to Dave Reage, executive director of Halifax Transit, the new facility will be built on the same property and, when completed, the older structure will be torn down.
Reage said it moves the transit system forward in terms of greenhouse gas reduction and expanding the system.
"Part of this work will actually be looking at what that balance would be in terms of fuellng infrastructure as well," Reage said.
When work at the Burnside site is completed, Reage said it should have a capacity to fuel and charge around 350-zero emission buses.
Reage said the planning and design phase should begin in early 2023 and is expected to last 24 to 30 months. Following the first phase, Reage said construction should begin by 2025 or early 2026
Addressing concerns about Halifax Transit route disruptions caused by staffing issues, Reage said the authority is working hard to increase recruitment.
He said he hopes more people will consider operating a bus as a career.
Halifax Transit is still about 50 operators short of being able to provide full service, Reage said.
"The reality is it will take a while longer to get ourselves back to full service but it's what I spend the beginning and end of most of my days thinking about and working on how to recruit people," Reage said.
"It's likely going to be early into the new year I'd say before we're back to complete full service. But there are a lot of variables."
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