Trudeau pledges $14.9b to public transit projects

This includes $3 billion for a permanent transit fund starting in 2026-2027

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to commit $14.9 billion to public transit projects over the next eight years | Government of Canada

Ottawa said Wednesday it will commit nearly $15 billion to new public transportation projects over the next eight years.

The $14.9 billion investment includes $3 billion in permanent funding per year, beginning in 2026.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the announcement is part of his government’s plan to create one million jobs, fight climate change, and build a more sustainable Canadian economy.

"We need efficient and modern public transit systems that make our communities more connected," he said.

"While these investments are good for the economy and crucial to our recovery from this global crisis, they're also helping us achieve our climate goals."

The funds will support the expansion of large urban transit systems, switching transit systems to clean sources of power, solutions for rural and Indigenous communities and active transportation projects, such as dedicated cycling and walking paths.

Since 2015, Trudeau's government has spent more than $13 billion on over 1,300 public transit projects across the country.

Greater Vancouver Board of Trade president and CEO Bridgitte Anderson said she hopes the new funding can support the completion of transportation projects in B.C., such as the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain. 

"Congestion means lost economic activity and increased emissions. These investments will help us avoid an increase in congestion and to plan, invest and build for the future," Anderson said in a news release.

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said he believes Ottawa's plan "makes good sense."

"With today’s announcement by Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Horgan’s promise to fully fund SkyTrain through Surrey all the way to Langley, I am now more confident than ever that Surrey is no longer left behind on rapid transit," he said in a release.

Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade – which has for years advocated for increased federal transportation funding for Surrey, – said in a release that the announcement could be good news for Surrey. She also called on Ottawa to release the details of its spending plan quickly, to allow local transportation authorities the time to begin planning for transit expansions.

"Surrey will be the largest city in B.C. very soon. Surrey has been starved of transit investments to connect our significant city-wide geography," she said.

Tamara Vrooman, CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority and the new chair of Canada's Infrastructure Bank, said the $14.9 billion commitment aligns well with the Infrastructure Bank's priorities. The Crown corporation is mandated to invest $5 billion in public transit projects – investments that are intended to attract additional funding from private and institutional partners.

hwoodin@biv.com

@hayleywoodin