Through funding recently announced by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark, a new federal-provincial agreement worth more than $900 million of combined investments will enhance public transit across the province and pave the way for the future introduction of compressed natural gas (CNG) buses.
According to the funding announcement, 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 11 projects, which include the following:
- New infrastructure and upgrades to existing infrastructure: Bus depots, maintenance yards, operations facilities and new CNG fueling stations;
- New and replacement buses: Investments in more efficient buses, including cleaner-burning CNG buses and specialized vehicles to support expanded handyDART service; and
- 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.
“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,” states Amarjeet Sohi, minister of infrastructure and communities.
According to a more recent announcement, residents of the Cowichan Valley will soon benefit from these enhancements, including a new and expanded transit operations and maintenance facility that will support CNG buses.
“This funding for a new, expanded transit facility will enable the Cowichan Valley to meet current demand for public transit while allowing room for growth down the road,” says Todd Stone, minister of transportation and infrastructure. “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.”