Transit investments in B.C. will help steer rural commuters to a smoother ride

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GABRIOLA ISLAND, BC, June 10, 2024 /CNW/ – The federal government is investing up to $1.7 million in rural communities across British Columbia for transit studies, planning projects, vehicle purchases, and supporting infrastructure.

On Gabriola Island, the funding will support their community bus system, Gabriola’s Environmentally Responsible Trans-Island Express (GERTIE). They will buy two electric passenger buses to replace the two passenger diesel buses currently in service. They will also buy two electric vehicle chargers to support the transition to greener transit.

The Indigenous communities of Squamish Nation, Stellat’en First Nation, Xaay Daga Dlaang Society, and the Xatsull First Nation (Soda Creek Indian Band) will also buy new vehicles.  Meanwhile, the Cranbrook, Malahat First Nation, Musqueam Capital Corp, and the qathet Regional District will undertake transit studies and planning projects to establish transit options for their communities.

Further project details can be found in the backgrounder.

Quotes

“Public transit makes getting around easier, helps tackle climate change, and better connects communities. We are proud to support these projects and will keep working with rural communities from coast to coast to coast to help meet their unique needs.

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

“The addition of two electric buses to the Gabriola Community Bus Foundation’s fleet is an exciting and significant step towards supporting a reliable, even lower-carbon transit option, on Gabriola. I extend my thanks to the Government of Canada for their support, which is critical to enabling our small community to reach this milestone, and to the Bus Foundation’s Board and staff for their vision of what a community bus system can be.”

Vanessa Craig, RDN Director Area B (Gabriola, Mudge, and DeCourcy Islands) and Chair, Regional District of Nanaimo Board

“The Gabriola Community Bus Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to receive the Government of Canada’s RTSF funding, as it will enable us to bring clean vehicle technology to Gabriola and improve the reliability of our fleet for transit service. With this purchase, GERTIE will become a genuine solar-powered transit system because most of our electricity is supplied by a solar array on the roof of our depot. GERTIE, which is a critical component of Gabriola’s community culture, has provided over 200,000 trips on its regular service between June 2013 and June 2024.”

Joint statement on behalf of the Gabriola Community Bus Foundation Board of Directors

Backgrounder

Transit investments in B.C. will help steer rural commuters to a smoother ride

Quick Facts

  • The federal government is investing $1,741,520 in these projects through the Rural Transit Solutions Fund (RTSF). The Province of British Columbia is contributing $130,000 while municipalities and recipients are providing $213,474.

  • The RTSF helps Canadians living in rural and remote areas get around their communities more easily. It supports the development of rural transit options, including new transit service models that could be replicated or scaled up.

  • A minimum of 10% of RTSF’s funding is allocated to projects that benefit Indigenous populations and communities.

  • The RTSF’s Capital Projects stream helps cover capital costs like the purchase of vehicles or digital platforms, as well as support for the purchase of zero-emission vehicles. Eligible applicants were able to seek contributions of up to $3 million to help cover the capital costs of a new or expanded transit solution (e.g., purchase of vehicles or digital platforms), and up to $5 million to support zero-emission transit solutions (e.g., for the purchase of a zero-emission vehicle(s)). This stream closed on February 28, 2024.

  • The RTSF’s Planning and Design Projects continuous intake remains open. Through this stream, eligible applicants can receive a grant up to $50,000 in support of a communities’ projects to plan and design a new or expanded transit solution for their communities. Some examples of eligible Planning and Design Projects activities are assessment of routes and modes of travel, feasibility studies, public and stakeholder engagement and surveys.

  • One in five Canadians live in rural communities. Rural communities in Canada account for nearly 30% of the nation’s gross domestic product.

  • The RTSF complements Canada’s strengthened climate plan: A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy. Through the plan the federal government has committed to providing federal funding for public transit in support of making clean and affordable transportation available in every community.

  • Since 2015, the federal government has committed over $30 billion for public transit and active transportation projects. These historic investments have resulted in close to 2000 projects across the country.

Associated links

Rural Transit Solutions Fund
https://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/rural-trans-rural/index-eng.html

Strengthened Climate Plan
https://www.canada.ca/en/services/environment/weather/climatechange/climate-plan/climate-plan-overview.html

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

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View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/June2024/10/c1774.html