July 19, 2016 - 2:31 PM EDT
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Governments of Canada and British Columbia Unveil Details of BC Transit Projects

11 projects will be funded through the new Public Transit Infrastructure Fund

KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - July 19, 2016) - Infrastructure Canada

Safe, modern and efficient public infrastructure ensures the well-being of British Columbia communities. The governments of Canada and British Columbia are committed to supporting infrastructure that helps get people to good paying jobs and back to their families after a hard day's work.

Premier Christy Clark and Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, unveiled details today for projects totalling almost $160 million in federal and provincial funding for BC Transit projects. The funding will support new facilities, buses, and technologies that will improve safety for passengers and drivers, and make taking public transit more convenient and efficient.

Also on hand for the announcement was Mayor Colin Basran from the City of Kelowna, which hosted the announcement and is one of the communities benefitting from the funding. Kelowna had prioritized the purchase of newer buses with technology enhancements that will pave the way for a better customer experience from the beginning to end of each trip, as well as much needed transit exchange upgrades, Today's announcement confirms funding for these. Additional details on the projects are provided in the backgrounder available at the link below.

The announcement follows the recent signature of a bilateral agreement with British Columbia that will result in more than $900 million being invested by the Government of Canada, British Columbia, and municipalities, in public transit projects across the province.

Included in the list of improvements identified as priorities by local governments are almost $11.8 million in bus technology enhancements, which will pave the way for a safer, more convenient and better customer experience. For example, closed circuit TV will be added to enhance the safety of passengers and drivers, and real-time information and automatic passenger counters will ultimately make the system more efficient for transit riders.

Also announced are plans for capital improvement projects for busy transit centres that will get underway over the next three years. These include an upgrade to the transit exchange at UBC's Okanagan campus in Kelowna that will increase capacity and allow for service expansion during peak hours. New operations and maintenance facilities in Prince George, Central Fraser Valley, Campbell River and the Cowichan Valley will support new technologies like compressed natural gas (CNG) fuelled buses that will benefit our environment and reduce operating costs. The investment will also support upgrades to meet seismic standards for facilities in Victoria and Langford.

Investing in infrastructure to improve public transit will help grow the economy while minimizing environmental impact. By building new facilities to allow for cleaner-burning compressed natural gas buses in Campbell River, Abbotsford, Cowichan Valley and Prince George, the province is reducing its carbon footprint one bus ride at a time.

The funding also includes more than $68.7 million to replace approximately 150 buses in communities across the province. The new vehicles will be right-sized for efficiency and will offer up-to-date amenities for a more comfortable customer experience. Acquisition of new buses for a total investment of $3.5 million will support increased service frequencies and new transit routes to meet growing demand in communities like Victoria, Kelowna, Kamloops and the Comox Valley.

Quick Facts

  • The new Public Transit Infrastructure Fund is part of Phase 1 of Investing in Canada, which will provide over $10 billion in investments to support public transit systems, green infrastructure projects, and social infrastructure projects. Details on Phase 2 of Investing in Canada will be announced over the next year.
  • BC Transit will continue to work with local governments to identify additional priority projects for funding consideration.
  • In partnership with local governments, BC Transit provides access to public transit to more than 1.6 million British Columbians in 130 communities outside Metro Vancouver. As a result of the Province's commitment to transit in B.C., communities with as few as 1,000 people have access to transit, making BC Transit a unique service for smaller communities anywhere in Canada.
  • The province currently provides the highest level of operating funding, per capita, for transit in Canada.

Quotes

"Public infrastructure connects people, supports job creation, and boosts economic development. This is why the Government of Canada is providing unprecedented funding for public infrastructure projects that will help grow the middle class and promote sustainable development and long-term prosperity in communities across the country. By financing projects like these 11 BC transit projects, we will build the Canada of the 21st century and ensure a high quality of life for generations to come."

Stephen Fuhr,

Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country

On behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi,

Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

"B.C. is the first province to sign an agreement with Canada under the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund, demonstrating our commitment to investing in transit communities across the province. This funding will enable priority projects to move forward in BC Transit-served communities across the province. Enhancements ranging from cleaner burning CNG-fuelled buses to technology upgrades and new maintenance yards and bus depots, we're building sustainable communities through strong transit systems."

Christy Clark,

Premier and MLA for Westside-Kelowna

"As B.C.'s population and economy continues to grow, transit infrastructure needs to keep pace. This investment will help meet rising demand, ease congestion, lower our carbon footprint and enhance our quality of life."

Todd Stone,

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure

"In partnership with local governments, BC transit provides access to public transit to more than 1.6 million British Columbians in 130 communities outside the Metro Vancouver area. This investment in transit infrastructure will ensure that BC Transit's services will continue to meet the evolving needs of the populations we serve."

Manuel Achadinha,

President and CEO of BC Transit

"Moving our transit service into the 21st century will provide a whole new level of convenience for Kelowna residents. And the added level of security the City has been advocating for that comes with the addition of safety cameras on buses will give passengers and drivers the peace of mind they deserve when taking transit."

Colin Basran,

Mayor of Kelowna

Related Products

Backgrounder with details on the 11 projects.

Backgrounder with details on the Kelowna project.

Associated links

To see progress on federal infrastructure investments in British Columbia: Infrastructure Projects in British Columbia

Investing in Canada, the Government of Canada's new $120 billion infrastructure plan.

Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect.

Twitter: @INFC_eng

Web: Infrastructure Canada

BACKGROUNDER

Details on 11 new BC Transit projects

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the British Columbia Premier, Christy Clark, announced on June 16, 2016, that the Government of Canada is providing British Columbia $460 million under the new Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF) for projects across the Province. The federal Government will fund up to 50% of the eligible project costs under this Fund.

Details were unveiled today for the BC Transit projects included in the funding. The Government of Canada is providing $90 million, the Province of British Columbia is providing over $69 million, and with contributions from the local governments, a total of more than $195 million in funding is being made available for the 11 projects, which include:

  • New infrastructure and upgrades to existing infrastructure: Bus depots, maintenance yards, operations facilities and new CNG fuelling stations.
  • New and replacement buses: Investments in more efficient buses including cleaner burning compressed natural gas (CNG) buses, and specialized vehicles to supported expanded handyDART service.
  • New technology: Buses to be equipped with closed circuit TV to enhance safety for passengers and drivers, automatic passenger counters and real-time location and operating information to help improve transit operating efficiencies and service levels for transit users.
         
Location Project Name Total Project
Cost
Federal
Funding
Provincial
 Funding
Across the province Replacement of 150 buses in communities across the province. $68,705,828 $34,352,914 $22,901,943
Across the province Acquisition of new buses to enable service expansions in communities such as Victoria, Kelowna, Kamloops and the Comox Valley. $3,460,000 $1,730,000 $1,153,333
Across the province Technology enhancements for BC Transit buses (SmartBus BC). $11,772,692 $5,886,346 $3,924,227
Abbotsford Construction of a new Abbotsford Operations and Maintenance CNG Facility. $28,000,000 $11,500,000 $10,166,667
Campbell River Construction of a new Campbell River Operations and Maintenance Facility. $15,000,000 $6,500,000 $5,833,333
Cowichan Valley Construction of a new Cowichan Valley Operations and Maintenance CNG Facility. $15,000,000 $6,500,000 $5,833,333
Kelowna Upgrade the UBC Okanagan campus transit exchange. $5,100,000 $1,432,500 $955,000
Prince George Construction of a new Prince George Operations and Maintenance CNG Facility. $23,000,000 $9,500,000 $8,333,333
Victoria Extension of Douglas Street Bus Lane - Tolmie to McKenzie interchange project. $10,050,000 $4,625,000 $5,425,000
Victoria Construction of a new Glanford Transit Depot and Maintenance Facility. $5,000,000 $2,500,000 $1,666,667
Victoria Seismic upgrades to two Victoria Regional Transit System operations and maintenance facilities (Victoria and Langford). $10,946,480 $5,473,240 $3,648,827

BACKGROUNDER

Better public transit on the way for Kelowna

Kelowna will soon benefit from public transit improvements included in a list of BC Transit projects recently approved under a new Canada-British Columbia bilateral agreement. In total, the 11 approved projects are receiving almost $160 million in combined federal and provincial funding. The funding was made available through the new Public Transit Infrastructure Fund, one of the funding programs introduced under Phase 1 of Investing in Canada, the Government of Canada's historic $120-billion plan to support infrastructure across the country over the next 10 years.

Kelowna prioritized technology enhancements that will pave the way for a better customer experience from the beginning to end of each trip. The new, more modern buses will also include closed circuit TV to increase the safety of passengers and drivers, as well as real-time tracking information and automatic passenger counters that will enable BC Transit to optimize service delivery based on gathered data.

In addition to the upgraded buses, Kelowna is set to receive a major renovation to the existing transit exchange at UBC's Okanagan campus. This capital investment project will alleviate current capacity and over-crowding issues by building a more functional exchange that will support better service during peak hours and improved operational efficiency for passengers. The total cost of this project is estimated to be $5.1 million, with over $1.4 million each coming from both the federal and provincial governments and close to $2.3 million from municipal sources. This project is expected to begin as early as September and has an estimated completion date of March 2018.

This announcement follows on the heels of the recent commitment to expand handyDART service in Kelowna by an extra 2,000 hours beginning in September. Now, thanks to the additional investments the full complement of transit users will see improvements to their daily commute.

Brook Simpson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
613-219-0149
[email protected]

Media Relations
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
250-356-8241
[email protected]

Infrastructure Canada
613-960-9251
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154
[email protected]


Source: Marketwired (Canada) (July 19, 2016 - 2:31 PM EDT)

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