Canada's new government invests $1.5 million in small town and rural transit systems in British Columbia



    VANCOUVER, Sept. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - Small towns and rural communities in
British Columbia will benefit from $1.5 million for new and expanded transit
services. BC Transit will receive this funding from the federal Public Transit
Fund. The funding will help link rural communities and small towns to regional
services.
    More than 16 communities will benefit from this new funding, which will
be leveraged with other funding partners. Areas that will enjoy the benefits
of these transit systems will include the city of Merritt, the town of Golden,
and the Regional Districts of Thompson-Nicole, East Kootenay, and Cariboo.
    Betty Hinton, MP for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, on behalf of the
Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and
Communities made the announcement at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM)
annual convention.
    The Honourable Ida Chong, BC's Minister of Community Services, Colin
Kinsley, BC Transit Board Member and Mayor of Prince George, together with
Brenda Binnie, President of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities
(UBCM) joined MP Hinton to celebrate the transfer of funds.
    "Canada's New Government is partnering with the Province of
British Columbia and UBCM to provide funding that will help rural British
Columbia meet its infrastructure needs", said MP Hinton. "This important
investment will help meet community and environmental infrastructure needs,
supporting our government's commitment to provide Canadians with a stronger,
safer and better country.
    Through the Public Transit Fund, Canada's New Government is providing
$400 million for public transit across Canada, of which $52.5 million will go
to British Columbia. In the province, the Public Transit Fund is administered
by UBCM.
    "This funding will provide more accessible and affordable transportation
options for many British Columbians in rural areas," said Minister Chong. "A
better network of public transit supports our government's goal of reducing
33 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions below current levels by 2020, and
provides for greener, healthier communities."
    "Today's announcement confirms the benefit provided by the Public Transit
Fund and Gas Tax Fund for all British Columbians," said President Binnie. "We
are pleased to see that so many small and rural communities will receive new
transit connections or extended services through this federal funding."
    BC Transit coordinates the delivery of public transit across BC outside
Metro Vancouver. The 75 transit systems of BC Transit's Municipal Systems
Program carried a record 20.3 million riders in 2006/07, an increase of 5 per
cent over the previous year.
    "The three-party partnership of BC Transit, local government and a
private operating company together with other partners such as UBCM enable us
to deliver on the social, economic and environmental goals expected of
transit," said Mayor Kinsley. "Today, I am pleased to see our vision becoming
a reality. Our successes have been remarkable and they have created a
springboard for transit to meet the high expectation of our customers and
communities to be part of the solution in a climate of change."
    Please visit www.infrastructure.gc.ca or www.civicnet.bc.ca for
background information on the Canada - BC - UBCM Public Transit Agreement.


    Backgrounder

    Summary of BC Transit New Small Town and Rural Transit Services

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Region       Proposed Service       Estimated Start Date   Expansion PTA
                                                                     funding
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cariboo RD   New transit system                Spring 08        $150,000
                 connecting 150 Mile
                 House and small
                 settlements outside
                 Williams Lake
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    RD East      New local Columbia                   Feb 08        $300,000
    Kootenay     Valley service
                 (Edgewater, Radium Hot
                 Springs, Invermere,
                 Fairmont); expanded
                 regional connection
                 from Golden and Columbia
                 Valley to Cranbrook
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    RD East      New local Elk Valley                 Feb 08        $300,000
    Kootenay     service (Elkford,
                 Sparwood, Fernie) and
                 expanded regional
                 connection to Cranbrook
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    City of      Expanded daily service               Nov 07        $300,000
    Merritt      within Merritt and
                 expanded regional
                 service between
                 Merritt and Kamloops
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thompson     Expanded local service               Feb 08        $150,000
    Nicola RD    between Ashcroft, Cache
                 Creek, Clinton and
                 surrounding Electoral
                 Areas; expanded
                 regional service to
                 Kamloops
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Town of      New local service                    Nov 07        $300,000
    Golden       between Donald
                 Station and Parson
                 along Hwy 1 within
                 Golden and to Kicking
                 Horse resort; expanded
                 regional service from
                 Golden to Cranbrook
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  $1,500,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    




For further information:

For further information: Karine White, Press Secretary to the Honourable
Lawrence Cannon, (613) 991-0700; Infrastructure Canada, (613) 948-1148; Marc
Black, Communications Manager, Ministry of Community Services, (250) 356-6334;
Paul Taylor, Relationships and Communications Advisor, Union of BC
Municipalities, (250) 356-2938; Steve New, Senior Vice-President, BC Transit,
(250) 385-2551


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