Province commits funding for city transit

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The provincial government has committed $4.4 million toward the replacement of buses and other improvements to the city’s transit system.

The money comes from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program though which municipalities located outside the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area are able to nominate their most critical public transit projects.

The money will fund construction, expansion and improvement of public transit.

In a report to city council, Beth Goodger, retired general manager of public works, said the City of Brantford will be eligible for $36 million in funding under the program over the next 10 years.

The cost of the program is shared and includes 40 per cent covered by the federal government, 33.3 per cent by the provincial government, and 26 per cent by the city.

The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program is a $30-billion, 10-year infrastructure program spread across four streams: rural and northern; public transit; green; and community, culture and recreation.

Funding is allocated to transit systems based on a municipality’s share of total transit ridership in Ontario.

After a review of its capital budget projects, the city’s public works staff submitted four projects for funding. They include replacement of conventional and specialized buses; replacement of on-board equipment for the buses; replacement of bus pads and shelters; and upgrades to transit centre hoists and fuel pump upgrades.

Under the funding application, the total cost for bus replacement is almost $10 million and replacement of on-board equipment is just over $2 million.

“These nominated projects will help people in the City of Brantford spend less time commuting and more time doing the things they love with those they care about most,” Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure, said in a news release.

The federal government is now in the midst of its funding approval process, which could take up to four months.

Mike Bradley, director of fleet and transit services, said there are currently 31 conventional buses and 17 specialized buses in the city’s fleet. He said the conventional buses are replaced every 12 to 14 years and the specialized ones every seven to nine years.

“A number of buses will be reaching the end of their service life in the next few years,” said Bradley.

The city expects to replace 13 conventional buses between 2020 and 2022 and eight specialized vehicles between 2020 and 2023.

Bradley said ridership has increased by 20 per cent this year on city buses compared to 2018. Last year, there were 1,616,584 million rides on conventional buses and 55,875 on specialized buses.