The Government of Canada invests in public transit for healthier, more liveable communities in Saskatchewan



    REGINA, March 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government of Canada today announced
$14.9 million in funding for capital investments to improve public transit in
Saskatchewan. The announcement was made by the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister
of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, on
behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport,
Infrastructure and Communities.
    "Saskatchewan is booming, our cities are growing and this government is
delivering real action to make sure our transit systems can handle that
expansion," said Minister Ritz. "These investments will provide dividends for
our communities and our environment."
    "The Public Transit Capital Trust 2008 will benefit seven Saskatchewan
cities and help to address immediate transit infrastructure needs," said
Saskatchewan Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Hutchinson. "This funding is
certainly a welcome addition to the provincial Ready for Growth investments
being made to support capital infrastructure projects in Saskatchewan. It is a
good example of governments working together to align priorities and
responsibilities."
    Saskatchewan will provide the funding to improve services in the seven
municipalities with public transit systems, based on ridership levels.
Saskatoon will invest $4 million of its allocation in new facilities,
including a new downtown transit terminal, and $3.5 million in new buses, as
well as funding Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) upgrades, such as
transit signal priority systems. Regina will use its $6 million allotment to
expand its bus fleet, support improvements to its fare collection system, and
for ITS upgrades to improve vehicle tracking and customer information systems.
    "The Government of Canada is taking decisive action to support public
transit in the country. Funding for transit has greatly increased in recent
years, currently reaching over $1 billion per year. Sound investments in
public transit can improve mobility and help get people out of their cars,
which reduces traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution,"
added Minister Cannon. "In addition to the environmental value, these
investments benefit the economy and quality of life in cities and
communities."
    Budget 2008 announced that $500 million would be provided to continue to
support public transit infrastructure projects. Funding will be paid into a
third-party trust, allocated on a provincial-territorial per capita basis and
used towards priority projects. The Public Transit Capital Trust 2008 will be
used for specific projects, such as rapid transit, rail, transit buses, and
high-occupancy vehicle and bicycle lanes. The funds will be delivered in trust
to the Province of Saskatchewan, once legislation has been passed.
    Saskatchewan will have the flexibility to draw from the funding as needed
over the next two years. The beneficiaries are also encouraged to report
publicly on the expenditures financed through the trust and on outcomes
achieved.
    This trust is in addition to the long-term funding available for public
transit projects under the government's $33-billion Building Canada
Infrastructure Plan, including the Gas Tax Fund, which was made permanent in
Budget 2008.




For further information:

For further information: Catherine Loubier, Director of Communications,
Office of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa,
(613) 991-0700; Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa, (613) 993-0055;
Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news releases and
speeches at apps.tc.gc.ca/listserv/ and keep up to date on the latest from
Transport Canada. This news release may be made available in alternative
formats for persons with visual disabilities.


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