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Sunday May 28 2000


Cobequid Pass

Cobequid Pass is a 45 kilometre twinned, four-lane, wide median highway in Northern Nova Scotia. It is the province's only tolled highway.

The tolls are:
$3 per car
$2 per axle for trucks over five tonnes
$4 per recreational vehicle.

Motorists can purchase an E-Pass, a transponder that attaches to the inside of a windshield. With this, tolls can be paid electroncially without stopping.

E-Passes cost $40 plus tax and can only be purchased at the Toll Plaza near Sullivan's Lake. For details, call the Plaza at
(902) 668-2211.

With an E-Pass the tolls are reduced to:
$1.50 per car
$1.50 per axle for trucks over five tonnes
No change for recreational vehicles

Cobequid Pass
Ownership
Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation
Financing Facts
Public-Private Partnership
Map

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Ownership

Cobequid Pass is owned by the government of Nova Scotia. While tolls are collected, its operation is managed by the Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation, (902) 422-6764.

The operation of the highway will be turned over to the province when tolls are lifted, estimated to be around 2026, approximately 30 years after the highway's opening in December 1997.

The tolls, collected by the Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation, are used to repay investors and fund annual and long term maintenance.

This highway is one of the first in Canada to be built through public-private partnering.

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Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation
The 104 Corporation is an entity unique to infrastructure financing in Canada. Neither a Crown corporation, nor an agent of the Crown, the 104 Corporation's sole purpose is managing the financing, operation and maintenance of Cobequid Pass (formerly called the Western Alignment).

With the funding for Cobequid Pass flowing through the 104 Corporation alone, the highway's debt does not belong to the province of Nova Scotia, nor does the province guarantee the debt. However, because public monies are involved in the highway's financing, and because the 104 Corporation is wholly owned by the Crown, its operations may be reviewed by the Auditor General.

Financing Facts
The 104 Corporation's only source of revenue is tolls, used to repay investors and fund annual and long term maintenance.

  • Construction cost: $112.9 million
  • Provincial contribution: $27.5 million
  • Federal contribution: $27.5 million
  • $5.5 million in subordinated notes was invested from the provincial pension fund;
  • $60.9 million was provided by the sale of bonds to private investors underwritten by Newcourt Credit Group of Toronto;
  • Toll revenues over 30 years will provide the investors a return; pay for toll operations; cover the $656,500 for annual maintenance provided by TPW; and contribute to long-term maintenance.
  • The money borrowed from the private sector by the Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation through Newcourt Credit Group is borrowed on the security of tolls and not the financial guarantees of the province.

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The Partners
Transportation and Public Works
owns the highway. The operation of the highway will be turned over to the province when the bondholders are repaid, estimated to be around 2026. (The contracts stipulate that the highway must be in excellent condition.) Until that time the Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation is managing the highway and sub-contracting the toll operations to Atlantic Highways Management Corporation.

The Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation is a private company owned by the provincial government. It was created by the Highway 104 Western Alignment Act to manage the financing, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the project. In this way, the financial obligations of the highway are separate from the province's debt.

Atlantic Highways Corporation (AHC) is a subsidiary of Canadian Highways International Corporation (CHIC) of Mississauga, Ontario, and won the tender to construct the highway.

Atlantic Highways Management Corporation (AHMC) is a subsidiary of AHC and is subcontracted by the Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation to manage the toll operations.

Newcourt Credit Group is a non-bank lending institution in Toronto, and is underwriting the toll revenue bonds for the private financing.

Transport Canada funded the federal contribution to the project through the Strategic Highway Improvement Program (SHIP).

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