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U.S. financiers take over Canadian toll highways and part of Trans-Canada Highway

Nova Scotia is one of the provinces – along with Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland – that Canadians have to pay to enter by road, unless they shunpike through the Wentworth Valley to get around the toll highway. Now the fee each vehicle pays for using the Cobequid Pass will be going to the United States. To ensure finance capital collects its pound of flesh, the government even levies high fines on truckers using adjacent roads to force them to use the toll road.

By TONY SEED
Shunpiking Magazine, 2001

IT WAS A MERE 15-second blip on the radar screen that the media calls “news,” but the paper on Nova Scotia’s toll highway – along with a private toll highway in Ontario – has passed into the hands of foreign capital.

CIT Group Inc. of New Jersey is to take over Newcourt Credit Group of Toronto, the world’s second-largest commercial finance company, in a $4.2-billion deal, creating North America’s largest non-bank lending company.

Newcourt underwrote some $51 million toll revenue bonds to finance the Cobequid Pass in Nova Scotia – part of the Trans-Canada Highway – at an estimated $2 million higher cost than had the provincial government borrowed the funds.

An estimated more than $300 million in tolls have been produced on the Cobequid Pass for a deal in which private financiers put up $66 million. According to a report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Nova Scotia government is also paying an effective interest rate of 10 per cent for 30 years, twice its rate of borrowing.

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