Alberta’s Government is stepping up to provide much-needed financial support to cash-strapped municipal transit systems hit hard during the pandemic, and Airdrie is one of them.
Alberta is committing $79.5 million, which is being matched by the Federal Government, for a total of almost $159 million to support 26 Alberta municipalities. This funding, under a new program called Alberta Relief for Shortfalls for Transit Operators, will provide a top-up to assist municipalities that are feeling the financial pinch from low ridership over the last two years.
“Transit systems took a financial beating during the pandemic with a significant loss in ridership as people worked from home and businesses cut back on staff or completely shut down. This funding will keep buses and trains moving to meet increased demand as we recover from the pandemic,” says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.
Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown is more than excited to see $305,871 of this government funding for Airdrie’s transit.
“You don't receive a lot of operating dollars when it comes to transit or anything. It was much needed with our ridership declining 55 to 60 per cent through the COVID years. That $300,000 is greatly appreciated from the Federal Government and the Provincial Government.”
Brown says the money coming to Airdrie’s transit system will be put to good use.
“It's really an offset, the money. It would have probably equated to service delivery changes, so we'd have fewer services available. So obviously, it makes us whole again. It's just a great benefit because, now, we won't have to cut back on any of those service levels that we're currently providing.”
According to Brown, transit is a very expensive endeavour, and it's very hard to break even.
“A lot of provinces across the country subsidize some of the transit throughout their communities. And I'm hoping that the Alberta government adopts a similar type of setup to help offset some of the operating costs.”
Rocky View County is also one of the 26 Alberta municipalities to receive transit funding with a total of $18,609.
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