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Canada, B.C. invest in public transit infrastructure in Greater Victoria

Canada, B.C. invest in public transit infrastructure in Greater Victoria

March 30, 2021 at 12:48 pm  BC, News, Politics

The safety and well-being of Canadians are top priorities of the governments of Canada and British Columbia.

Investments in public transit infrastructure during this extraordinary time help create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and make B.C. communities more inclusive and resilient.

British Columbians need safe, accessible and reliable public transit to get to work, school and home, to attend appointments, shop for essentials and conduct business. Strategic investments in public transportation infrastructure play a key role in delivering this service.

Today, Patrick Weiler, MP for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Rob Fleming, B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, announced funding for two public transit projects in Greater Victoria. Erinn Pinkerton, president and CEO of BC Transit; Fred Haynes, mayor of the District of Saanich and member of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission; Kevin Hall, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Victoria and Emily Lowan, director of campaigns and community relations of the University of Victoria Students’ Society also participated in the virtual announcement.

The Government of Canada is investing more than $4.9 million and the Government of British Columbia over $4.5 million in these two projects through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada plan. The recipients are contributing a combined total of over $1.9 million.

Vehicle Acquisition (Phase 6):

This project will involve acquiring approximately 15 medium-duty buses fuelled with compressed natural gas (CNG) or renewable natural gas to replace diesel-fuelled buses at the end of their useful life. The new buses will help maintain current transit levels and avoid gaps in service when existing buses are retired, as well as improve the capacity of the transit system for Greater Victoria residents.

The Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia are each investing over $3.1 million in this project. For its part, the Victoria Regional Transit Commission is contributing approximately $1.5 million.

University of Victoria (UVic) Exchange:

This project will rehabilitate the north side of the existing UVic Exchange and bus stops along Ring Road, including refurbishment and enhancement of about nine bus bays, six bus shelters and two layover bays, as well as the redevelopment of surrounding pedestrian and bicycle-storage infrastructure. UVic students, faculty and staff, as well as residents of the area, will benefit from better access to public transit, higher quality pathways and increased access to active transportation infrastructure in the Oak Bay and Saanich areas.

The Government of Canada is investing more than $1.7 million in this project and the Government of British Columbia is providing over $1.4 million. The University of Victoria and the Victoria Regional Transit Commission are contributing a combined total of over $356,000.

Quotes:

Patrick Weiler, MP for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities –

“Investing in B.C.’s public transit is an essential part of growing the economy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting communities where people can get around in faster and cleaner ways. By improving active transportation infrastructure along with improving safety, capacity and access to public transit, the UVic Exchange project and the acquisition of more CNG or renewable natural gas buses for Greater Victoria will make it easier for more people to use and choose public transit and will help protect the environment. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities.”

Rob Fleming, B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure –

“The new and improved bus exchange at UVic, in combination with the new CNG buses being brought online in Victoria, will ensure residents of the surrounding communities have access to greener transportation options for years to come. We know that a good public transit system helps make our communities more affordable and accessible for the people who live in them, and we’re thrilled that this infrastructure investment will go toward better-serving several municipalities in the Caprial Regional District, while showing our commitment to CleanBC.”

Erinn Pinkerton, president and CEO, BC Transit –

“It is encouraging to see our federal and provincial partners continuing to invest in public transit. The introduction of more medium-duty CNG buses is an important step in our low-carbon fleet program as we transition to a greener fleet. The new buses, as well as an improved transit exchange for UVic students, provide customers in the Victoria Regional Transit System with even more reasons to feel confident in choosing public transit.” 

Fred Haynes, mayor, District of Saanich, on behalf of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission –

“More than 25% of all trips to and from UVic are made using transit, so these on-campus transit exchange upgrades are well deserved. Both before and during the pandemic, public transit remains a critical component of our community that helps people get to the places they need to go, so continuing to make these investments is as important today as they’ve ever been as we focus on building back our ridership.”

Kevin Hall, president and vice-chancellor, University of Victoria

“At the University of Victoria, we strive to be a global exemplar in environmental sustainability. This project will help us reach our goal of having 70% of all trips to and from campus facilitated by public transit or active transportation. These transit improvements complement our Campus Cycling Plan and give our campus community and neighbours greener and healthier commuting choices from their doorstep to school, work and play.”

Emily Lowan, director of campaigns and community relations, University of Victoria Students’ Society

“One-third of UVic undergraduate students rely on transit as their primary mode of transportation, using transit to get to campus, work and to run errands. We’re thankful the Government of Canada, the Province and the University of Victoria are investing in campus transit infrastructure, which will make students’ daily commute easier, safer and more comfortable.”

Quick Facts:

  • Through the Investing in Canada plan, the federal government is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
  • Throughout B.C., the Government of Canada has invested more than $4.3 billion in over 547 infrastructure projects under the Investing in Canada plan.
  • Under the Canada–B.C. Safe Restart Agreement, BC Transit will receive $86 million cost-shared 50-50 between the B.C. and the federal governments. This will help cover the incremental operating costs (including revenue loss) due to the COVID-19 pandemic for local governments.
  • BC Transit manages public transit projects outside the Metro Vancouver region, and will leverage approximately $560 million in federal investments to infrastructure projects totalling $1.4 billion over 12 years. The Province is supplying approximately $532 million, with the balance contributed by local government partners.
  • To date, the Government of Canada has approved BC Transit projects through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, including replacement and expansion of buses; electric buses; over 200 bus shelters; additional SmartBus (Next Ride) and advanced fare technology; and a handyDART operations and maintenance facility in Victoria.
  • On Feb. 10, 2021, the federal government announced $14.9 billion for public transit projects over the next eight years, including $3 billion per year in permanent funding for Canadian communities beginning in 2026-27. On March 12, 2021, the Government of Canada announced $400 million of this funding will go toward active transportation to help build new and expanded networks of pathways, bike lanes, trails and pedestrian bridges.

Learn More:

Investing in Canada Plan Project Map: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/map

Federal infrastructure investments in British Columbia:
https://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/prog-proj-bc-eng.html#1    

Investing in Canada: Canada’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan:
http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/icp-publication-pic-eng.html

Investing in BC Transit:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/delivering-reliable-efficient-and-green-public-transit

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