VICTORIA, BC, May 28, 2012 /CNW/ - In its signature annual conference, the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) brought together international and Canadian senior transit leaders to dialogue issues related to urban mobility, transit infrastructure needs, investment and ridership growth. The conference was held in Victoria B.C. under the theme Building Connections. Linking Communities, and hosted by BC Transit. Key personalities providing remarks included Blair Lekstrom, B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Dean Fortin, Mayor of Victoria, Councillor Susan Brice, Chair of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission as well as other international partners and stakeholders.
"We chose this year's theme because building connections and linking communities defines what public transit is all about," said Michael Roschlau, CUTA President and CEO. "We work in partnership with industry stakeholders and all orders of governments to build connections between people and improve the quality of life for all Canadians."
The CUTA Annual Conference allowed delegates to focus on prioritizing the growing importance of public transit across the country as well as working together to garner support for a sustainable and predictable funding mechanism for public transit in Canada. In his keynote address to more than 300 conference attendees, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Blair Lekstrom emphasized that the B.C. government is committed and continues to invest in transit, which is a key reason for the success of public transit in B.C. "We have world class transit systems in British Columbia and we are very proud to host CUTA's 2012 annual conference," said Minister Lekstrom. "Through our provincial transit plan, B.C. remains committed to strategic investment in transit infrastructure to ensure a successful economy and a better quality of life for everyone."
"It's an honour for BC Transit to play host to the Canadian Urban Transit Association," said Manuel Achadinha, BC Transit President and CEO. "CUTA is vital in linking Canadian transit systems so they can learn and grow together."
"The public transit industry is in good health, and federal and provincial governments have greatly contributed to the success of our sector," remarked John King, CUTA Chair. "Public transit is riding high, with another record-breaking ridership in 2011 of just under 2 billion customer trips. This growth is nearly 5% over 2010 which is more than population growth, a trend that reflects the shifting economy, the price of fuel, and more importantly the lifestyle of our Canadian communities."
Over the last 10 years, investment from the federal government has grown substantially, now averaging nearly $1 billion per year. Looking forward, the government has announced its plan to develop the next generation of long-term infrastructure programs that will follow the expiry of the Building Canada Plan.
"CUTA and its members applaud the government on its dedication toward building a long-term infrastructure plan," said King. "We are committed to working closely with the federal government and all involved stakeholders to this end."
The full agenda included distinguished speakers who provided in-depth knowledge and insights into transit affairs. International keynote speaker Jarrett Walker discusses details of how transit works as an urban mobility tool and how it fits into the larger challenge of urban transportation. Other speakers provide an overview on mobility management, financing transit, perspectives on transit advocacy and the Long Term Infrastructure Plan (LTIP), accessible transit, and greening and energy strategies.
CUTA is the collective and influential voice of public transportation in Canada, dedicated to being at the centre of urban mobility issues with all orders of government, and delivering the highest value to its members and the communities they serve. CUTA is the national association representing public transit systems, suppliers to the industry, government agencies, individuals and related organizations in Canada.
For further information:
For CUTA information, contact: Grace Elasmar, Manager, Marketing and Communications CUTA, Office: (416) 365-9800 ext. 118; Cell: (647) 869-5404 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
For BC Transit information, contact: Meribeth Burton, Corporate Spokesperson BC Transit, Office: (250) 995- 5720; Cell (250) 507-8145 or by email email@example.com