Canada and British Columbia invest in public transit infrastructure to improve capacity, safety, and service in Greater Victoria

News release

Victoria, British Columbia, March 30, 2021—The safety and well-being of Canadians are top priorities of the governments of Canada and British Columbia. Investments in public transit infrastructure during this extraordinary time help create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and make our communities more inclusive and resilient.

British Columbians need safe, accessible, and reliable public transit to get to work, school and home, to attend appointments, shop for essentials, and conduct business. Strategic investments in public transportation infrastructure play a key role in delivering this service.

Today, Patrick Weiler, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and the Honourable Rob Fleming, B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, announced funding for two public transit projects in Greater Victoria. Erinn Pinkerton, President and CEO of BC Transit; Fred Haynes, Mayor of the District of Saanich and member of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission; Kevin Hall, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Victoria and Emily Lowan, Director of Campaigns & Community Relations of the University of Victoria Students' Society also participated in the virtual announcement.

The Government of Canada is investing more than $4.9 million, and the Government of British Columbia over $4.5 million in these two projects through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream (PTIS) of the Investing in Canada plan. The recipients are contributing a combined total of over $1.9 million.

Vehicle Acquisition (Phase 6)

This project will involve acquiring approximately 15 medium-duty buses fueled with Compressed Natural Gas or Renewable Natural Gas to replace diesel-fueled buses at the end of their useful life. The new buses will help maintain current transit levels and avoid gaps in service when existing buses are retired as well as improve the capacity of the transit system for Greater Victoria residents.

The Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia are each investing over $3.1 million in this project. For its part, the Victoria Regional Transit Commission is contributing approximately $1.5 million.

University of Victoria (UVic) Exchange

This project will see to the rehabilitation of the north side of the existing UVic Exchange and bus stops along Ring Road, including refurbishment and enhancement of approximately nine bus bays, six bus shelters, and two layover bays as well as the redevelopment of surrounding pedestrian and bicycle storage infrastructure. University of Victoria students, faculty, and staff, as well as residents of the area, will benefit from better access to public transit, higher quality pathways, and increased access to active transportation infrastructure in the Oak Bay and Saanich areas.

The Government of Canada is investing more than $1.7 million in this project and the Government of British Columbia is providing over $1.4 million. The University of Victoria and the Victoria Regional Transit Commission are contributing a combined total of over $356,000.

Quotes

“Investing in B.C.’s public transit is an essential part of growing the economy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and supporting communities where people can get around in faster and cleaner ways. By improving active transportation infrastructure along with improving safety, capacity, and access to public transit, the UVic Exchange project and the acquisition of more CNG or Renewable Natural Gas buses for Greater Victoria will make it easier for more people to use and choose public transit and will help protect he environment. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities.”

Patrick Weiler, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities 

“The new and improved bus exchange at UVic, in combination with the new CNG buses being brought online in Victoria will ensure that residents of the surrounding communities have access to greener transportation options for years to come. We know that a good public transit system helps make our communities more affordable and accessible for the people who live in them, and we’re thrilled that this infrastructure investment will go towards better serving several municipalities in the CRD, while showing our commitment to CleanBC.”

The Honourable Rob Fleming, B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure

“It is encouraging to see our federal and provincial partners continuing to invest in public transit. The introduction of more medium duty CNG buses is an important step in our low carbon fleet program as we transition to a greener fleet. The new buses, as well as an improved transit exchange for UVic students, provide customers in the Victoria Regional Transit System with even more reasons to feel confident in choosing public transit.” 

Erinn Pinkerton, President and CEO, BC Transit

“More than 25 per cent of all trips to and from UVic are made using transit, so these on campus transit exchange upgrades are well deserved. Both before and during the pandemic, public transit remains a critical component of our community that helps people get to the places they need to go, so continuing to make these investments is as important today as they’ve ever been as we focus on building back our ridership.”

Fred Haynes, Mayor of the District of Saanich, on behalf of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission

“At the University of Victoria, we strive to be a global exemplar in environmental sustainability. This project will help us reach our goal of having 70 percent of all trips to and from campus facilitated by public transit or active transportation. These transit improvements complement our Campus Cycling Plan, and give our campus community and neighbours greener and healthier commuting choices from their doorstep to school, work and play.”

Kevin Hall, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Victoria

“One third of UVic undergraduate students rely on transit as their primary mode of transportation, using transit to get to campus, work and to run errands. We’re thankful that the Government of Canada, the province and the University of Victoria are investing in campus transit infrastructure which will make students' daily commute easier, safer and more comfortable.”

Emily Lowan, Director of Campaigns & Community Relations of University of Victoria Students' Society

Quick facts

  • Through the Investing in Canada plan, the federal government is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.

  • Across B.C., the Government of Canada has invested more than $4.3 billion in over 547 infrastructure projects under the Investing in Canada plan.

  • Under the Canada–B.C. Safe Restart Agreement, BC Transit will receive $86 million in funding cost-shared 50-50 between the B.C. and the federal governments. This will help cover the incremental operating costs (including revenue loss) due to the COVID-19 pandemic for local governments.

  • BC Transit manages public transit projects outside the Metro Vancouver region, and will leverage approximately $560 million in federal investments to infrastructure projects totalling $1.4 billion over 12 years. The Province is supplying approximately $532 million, with the balance contributed by local government partners.

  • To date, the Government of Canada has approved BC Transit projects through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, including replacement and expansion buses; electric buses; over 200 bus shelters; additional SmartBus (Next Ride) and advanced fare technology; and a handyDART Operations and Maintenance Facility in Victoria.

  • On February 10, 2021, the federal government announced $14.9 billion for public transit projects over the next eight years, including $3 billion per year in permanent funding for Canadian communities beginning in 2026-27. On March 12, 2021, the Government of Canada announced $400 million of this funding will go towards active transportation to help build new and expanded networks of pathways, bike lanes, trails and pedestrian bridges.

Associated links

Contacts

Chantalle Aubertin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
613-941-0660
Chantalle.Aubertin@canada.ca

Media Relations
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
250-356-8241

Media Relations
BC Transit
250-880-1303
Media@bctransit.com

Karen Johnston
Associate Director of Public Affairs
Media Relations & Public Affairs, University of Victoria
250-589-9686
adpublicaffairs@uvic.ca

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
613-960-9251
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154
Email: infc.media.infc@canada.ca
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