Prince George commits to five years of transit funding
By Government of B.C.
By Government of B.C.
February 1, 2017 – The City of Prince George has committed to five years of funding towards the transit component of the B.C. government’s Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan.
“This commitment to five years of transit funding by the City of Prince George is wonderful news for all residents,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “This is another major step forward in delivering inter-community transit services for people who live in communities that are located along Highway 16, to provide a safe, reliable, and affordable transportation option, in particular for women and teenaged girls.”
During a recent city council meeting, Mayor Lyn Hall and council approved an increase to its financial support from one year to five years. Prince George will invest $50,000 annually into the transit service.
“Prince George City Council is committed to helping to ensure that there are long-term, reliable, and safe transportation options for travellers along Highway 16,” Hall said. “We look forward to seeing the full implementation of this important service, which helps to provide safe transportation for people who have no other means of travel along this busy corridor.”
Councils in Smithers, Telkwa, Fraser Lake, Granisle and Houston, B.C. have all committed to supporting Highway 16 inter-community transit between Burns Lake and Smithers and Burns Lake and Prince George. The remaining two councils will meet in February.
As part of the $5-million Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan, the B.C. government committed funding to BC Transit over three years to support enhanced transit service. As discussions have taken place with local regional districts, municipalities and First Nations along the corridor, BC Transit and the ministry have been asked for a longer-term commitment to these services. The B.C. government has now committed to fund a 4th and 5th year of transit operations.
“We continue to make remarkable progress forward on the transit piece of the Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan, and this multi-year funding commitment from Prince George adds to that momentum,” said John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. “Congratulations to Mayor Lyn Hall and his council for recognizing what a profound and positive impact the expanded transit services will have on Prince George and also the surrounding communities.”
For the expanded transit services, 100% of the vehicles are being covered, and the Province is funding two-thirds of the operating costs. Local governments, through regional districts, are working together to share costs for their one-third share of the operating costs.
“The recent announcement by the Province for a five year commitment, which has now been matched by Prince George, shows the strength of the partnership and commitment to implement service on Highway 16,” said Manuel Achadinha, BC Transit chief executive officer and president. “We look forward to working with the rest of the partners to implement the new and enhanced services.”
On Jan. 30, 2017, the first expanded-transit services started running, between Smithers and Moricetown. More local communities are expected to sign on for the new and expanded-transit services in the coming weeks.
“Happy to see progress being made on the Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan,” said Mike Morris, Prince George-Mackenzie MLA. “The transit component of the plan offers an excellent way for people to travel between communities on the Highway 16 corridor, which also provides more employment opportunities for those living in smaller and more remote northern communities, as they can travel to the larger centres for work more affordably.”
“Everyone who lives along Highway 16 wants to ensure that this route has efficient and effective transportation options,” added Shirley Bond, Prince George-Valemount MLA. “After a great deal of work and partnership, additional services are now available thanks to financial commitments like the one the City of Prince George has made. We are grateful for the collaborative approach that is making the initiative possible.”
To learn more about the Highway 16 Transportation Action Plan, go to: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/transportation-reports-and-reference/reports-studies/planning-strategic-economic/highway16-action-plan