OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — Ottawa will provide $540 million to support public transit in B.C. as part of the economic aid funding for provinces, according to federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Johnathan Wilkinson.
He also said, in making the announcement Thursday, B.C. will match those funds, which are part of the federal government’s $19 billion “Safe Restart” plan for the country.
The transit announcement follows months of discussions among the regional mayors’ council, province and federal government about how to support transit services.
TransLink previously said it was losing $75 million a month during the height of the COVID-19 shutdowns.
“TransLink welcomes today’s federal funding announcement, which is an important step toward ensuring our financial stability. We look forward to working closely with our provincial and federal partners over coming days on further details of this funding package,” Ben Murphy, with TransLink, says in an email.
On Thursday, the provincial government received $1 billion from the federal government.
“British Columbians are depending on government to provide help during the pandemic and build a resilient, secure future for our province,” Premier John Horgan says in a release.
“That’s why I’m pleased this new funding will secure B.C.’s share of the federal government’s $19-billion Safe Restart program and ensure people have access to the critical services they need in their communities.”
New from BC Gov: $1 billion additional spending for #covid19 recovery for transit. This follows the feds announcement last week of matching funding for provinces.#bcpoli @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/sVAUpqD77v
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) July 22, 2020
Transit services are critical for a successful restart of the B.C. economy, he added.
“The funding will help address some of the revenue shortfalls created by COVID-19 and help ensure that important local government and transit services remain available throughout BC’s Restart Plan,” he says.
B.C. Finance Minister Carole James said the province is committed to additional funds to support local governments and public transit, both of which are critical to restarting the economy.
James introduced supplementary estimates in the Legislature for up to $1 billion to fund the province’s portion of municipal and transit services assistance.