City to apply for provincial transit grant funding
By: Matt Durnan
| Posted: Thursday, Apr 24, 2014 06:00 am
The door has been opened once again for Airdrie to expand its transit services.
The Alberta Government announced that it will be accepting applications for Green Transit Incentives Program (GreenTRIP) funding as of April 15.
GreenTRIP has provided more than $1 billion for transit projects in 15 different municipalities. There is just under $1 billion remaining in the program and with the 2014 Alberta budget, municipalities can now put in their applications to build and evolve their transit systems.
Airdrie’s funding does not come directly to the City through this grant, but rather through a joint application with the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP). Airdrie will be applying via the CRP again this year. In 2012, Airdrie received $2.8 million through GreenTRIP, which paid for four Intercity Express (ICE) buses, eight local buses and improvements to transit storage facilities.
Airdrie Transit, Calgary Transit and Bow Valley Region Transit are all part of the Calgary Region that makes the CRP application for this funding.
“The funding in this grant is set aside by regions,” said Airdrie Transit Coordinator Chris MacIsaac.
“Just as Edmonton, St. Albert and Strathcona County all apply as the Capital Region, we apply as part of the CRP.”
Included in the $2 billion in total funding that is available through GreenTRIP, 40 per cent ($800 million) has been allocated for the Calgary Region, another 40 per cent for the Capital Region, and the remaining 20 per cent ($400 million) for other municipalities.
“This is exciting news for both the province and municipalities,” said Alberta Minister of Transportation Wayne Drysdale. “Every public transit project that goes forward helps to reduce traffic congestion and better connects our communities. Our government is excited to help fund some really innovative projects in the future.”
With recent expansion of a shuttle service to CrossIron Mills mall in Balzac and talks of eventually expanding transit service into Calgary, Airdrie would benefit greatly from this funding, according to MacIsaac.
The City has also budgeted $2.2 million for a new transit terminal that is slated to be completed this December on Main Street near the Honda dealership.
“Any long-term commitment to funding is a key to our success in planning,” said MacIsaac. “If we know that there is going to be money available to us, it allows us to put the services in place that our residents are asking for.”
Minister Wayne Drysdale echoed MacIsaac’s comments, stating this funding allows municipalities to better plan for the future of their transit service.
“The remaining $1 billion in this funding is scheduled to be finished in 2020,” said Drysdale.
“With communities knowing that this funding is coming ahead of time, they’re able to build and expand before that time.”