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UPDATE: Driver’s licence fees return to fund climate change projects, says P.E.I. government

P.E.I> has announces it will reinstate fees for drivers' licenses in 2020 to pay for green transportation projects.
P.E.I. has announced it will reinstate fees for driver's licences in 2020 to pay for green transportation projects. - 123RF Stock Photo

Driver’s licence fees will be reinstated in 2020 to pay for a $5 million active transportation fund for P.E.I., said the province on Tuesday.

As of Jan. 1, 2020, the driver’s licence fee rebate for Islanders will end. The free driver's licences were introduced  by the previous Liberal government in the months leading up to the last provincial election. The free licences were funded with revenue from a modest federally mandated tax on carbon.

Registration fees will also increase for regular vehicles, however electric vehicles and hybrids will continue to receive registration fee discounts.

The new $5 million active transportation fund will build new walking and bike paths, widen paved shoulders and better connect existing walking and cycling trails to improve and grow our active transportation network.

"I know some Islanders will be disappointed when they don't get a free drivers licence. But I am determined to address climate challenges head on," Transportation Minister Steven Myers told the legislature on Tuesday.

Green transportation critic Stephen Howard
Green transportation critic Stephen Howard

Under the new fund, a list of priority investments across the province will be compiled through public and partner feedback this winter, said Myers.

Priority projects will begin during the 2020 construction season.

Green transportation critic Stephen Howard welcomed the announcement.

"It's encouraging to hear that the government is going to be taking some actual action on climate targets with the funds that are supposed to be dedicated towards greenhouse gas emissions," Howard said.

Howard further suggested the new funding should go toward improving cycling paths on the Hillsborough Bridge.

Liberal MLA Robert Henderson suggested the changes would increase fees paid by Islanders.

"I haven't seen any platform that said they were going to increase taxes and fees on Islanders. Now they're looking like they're going to do that," Henderson said.

"I don't think our party was too consulted or collaborated on (with) this particular announcement."

The licences will be renewed for a five year term.

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