The Alberta government announced it will provide funding to support local transit systems in Airdrie and 25 other municipalities, at a news conference April 13.
The Government of Alberta announced today that it will provide funding to support local transit systems in Airdrie and 25 other municipalities, at a news conference on April 13.
Premier Jason Kenney and Transport Minister Rajan Sawhney said the government would step in to provide “essential” financial support to cash-strapped municipal transport systems that have been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a news release, the City of Airdrie will receive $305,871 in financial support under a new program called Alberta Relief for Shortfalls for Transit Operators (RESTOR) which aims to provide a top-up to help municipalities that have been overwhelmed by the pandemic. and subsequent low attendance in recent years.
“Transit systems have taken a financial hit during the pandemic with a significant loss of ridership as people work from home and businesses cut staff or shut down altogether,” Kenney said in the statement. “This funding will allow buses and trains to continue to run to meet increased demand as we recover from the pandemic.”
The province is committing to provide $79.5 million in funding to Alberta municipalities, which will be matched by the federal government, for a total of approximately $159 million.
According to Sawhney, public transit is an essential service and is especially important for students returning to on-campus learning, as well as seniors and other vulnerable members of the public returning to work and in-person activities. .
“The Government of Alberta is proud to step up and recognizes the importance of public transit service to our communities,” she said.
As part of the funding, Rocky View County (including Crossfield, Irricana and Beiseker) will receive $18,609 and Cochrane will receive $15,269. Additional funding of $9.7 million is set aside for smaller communities across the province facing shortfalls in public transit revenue.
Randy Boissonnault, federal tourism minister and associate finance minister, said in the release that public transit is a connector for people and communities, helping them get where they need to be.
“Whether it’s visiting loved ones, accessing essential services or returning home after a hard day’s work,” he said. “This investment is helping to strengthen our public transit as demand increases after the pandemic, while helping to make life more affordable for Albertans.