Federal Public Transit Funds Used to Expand and Improve Service



    HALIFAX, June 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Public transit in Nova Scotia has
improved this year, thanks to an $11.7 million investment by the Government of
Canada.
    The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and
Communities and Jamie Muir, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal
Relations today announced details on how the funding is being used.
    The $11.7 million investment is being shared among several transit
systems including Halifax Regional Municipality's Metro Transit, Kings Transit
in the Annapolis Valley, Cape Breton Regional Municipality's system and five
systems in rural communities across the province. The money is made available
through the Canada-Nova Scotia Agreement on the Transfer of Federal Public
Transit Funds.
    "Canada's New Government is proud to be working in partnership with the
Province of Nova Scotia to address its current and future infrastructure
needs, especially in areas of public transit, in a way that respects
jurisdiction," said Minister Cannon. "Investment in public transit supports
the development of sustainable, vibrant and healthy communities. In addition
to environmental benefits, these public transit investments also provide
accessible options for people with disabilities."
    "This investment is improving accessible travel and public transit in
both urban and rural communities in Nova Scotia," said Minister Muir. "It
contributes to the quality of life of people in those communities as well as
helping reduce traffic congestion and the associated greenhouse gas
emissions."
    The Halifax Regional Municipality invested its $10.9 million funding
allocation to upgrade farebox technology and purchase vehicles. New electronic
fare boxes provide statistical data to help track passenger travel and monitor
passenger fares, providing information that can be used in transit planning.
    "Funding for transit services is always a worthwhile investment," said
Peter Kelly, mayor of Halifax Regional Municipality. "This particular
investment is helping us continue to improve and expand Metro Transit to
better serve our citizens, while also contributing to HRM's efforts to reach
our environmental and economic goals."
    The Cape Breton Regional Municipality is spending its allocation of
almost $350,000 on capital improvements to improve accessibility for people
with disabilities.
    Kings Transit plans to use its more than $320,000 to purchase two feeder
buses and to enhance its bus camera security. Five accessible mini-vans or
buses are also being purchased for rural community transit organizations, at a
cost of about $170,000. Dial-a-Ride services will be improved in Annapolis,
Pictou, Colchester, Kings and Digby counties.
    "I'm pleased to see federal money and effort being put into transit
service in this province," said Russell Walker, President of the Union of Nova
Scotia Municipalities. "Improving and expanding transit service in our
communities will benefit residents and the local economies."
    This federal funding builds on the Government of Canada's other
infrastructure programs in Nova Scotia, such as $145.2 million from the
federal Gas Tax Fund for 2005-2010, $37 million under the Municipal Rural
Infrastructure Fund, and $25.8 million from the Public Transit Capital Trust.
As well, the Government of Canada has provided $90.5 million for large-scale
Nova Scotia projects under the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund. In
addition, Budget 2007 makes a historic commitment of more than $16 billion
over seven years in infrastructure across Canada, bringing federal support
under a new long-term plan for infrastructure to a total of $33 billion.




For further information:

For further information: Natalie Sarafian, Press Secretary, Office of
the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and
Communities, (613) 991-0700; Deborah Bayer, Service Nova Scotia and Municipal
Relations, (902) 424-0112, Cell: (902) 225-4982, bayerdj@gov.ns.ca;
Infrastructure Canada, Communications Directorate, (613) 948-1148


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