British Columbia will invest in rapid transit as part of a new pledge of money from the federal and provincial governments.
The federal government will provide $460 million and the government of British Columba $308 million that combine with contributions from local municipalities for more than $900 million for public transit across the province, all designed to “help shorten commute times, cut air pollution and strengthen communities in the province.”
As part of the funding agreement, the first phase in an Investing in Canada initiative backed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, both Metro Vancouver TransLink and BC Transit will push forward on new projects.
The Metro Vancouver projects include the purchase of additional SkyTrain light rail trains for the Expo, Millennium and Canada lines; a new West Coast Express locomotive; a new SeaBus; upgrades to existing SkyTrain stations; and design and planning for Rapid Transit South of Fraser and the Millennium Line Extension along Broadway.
Projects for BC Transit include investments in new bus depots, maintenance yards, operations facilities and new CNG fueling stations. The money will also pay for new and more efficient buses, including cleaner-burning CNG-fueled buses and the ability to expand the handyDART service.
“Canadians have asked us to reduce congestion and commute times in their cities,” Trudeau said in a release. “This investment in public transit will help the people of British Columbia get home to their loved ones faster. It will also help to grow the middle class by improving business flows in municipalities while reducing environmental damage.”
The funding package was made retroactive to April 2016, allowing projects to move forward without delay and make use of the most productive construction windows of 2016.
The focus on efficiency—most heavily found in upgraded equipment—comes as part of the first phase of the funding package. An announcement on the second phase of funding is expected within a year.
Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.