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Alberta announces $15M investment in low-income transit programs across province

The Alberta government will invest $15 million in low-income transit programs across the province, including in Calgary and Edmonton.

Community and Human Services Secretary Jeremy Nixon told reporters Thursday that Calgary and Edmonton each received $4.5 million to provide low-income transit pass programs in their communities.

An additional $6 million will be allocated to 10 municipalities that already offer transit programs for low-income households. The money will help cover some operating costs and expand these much-needed programs to additional communities such as Airdrie, Banff, Canmore, Cochrane, Cold Lake, Fort Saskatchewan, Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat, St. Albert and Strathcona Counties.

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Nixon said each community will receive a different amount of funding based on actual operating costs.

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“We know that this (affordability) crisis is causing undue pain and worry for many of us,” Nixon said at a news conference Thursday.

“(The Government) will continue to work with our community partners to find other ways to support affordable and accessible transit.

“We will explore ways to expand these programs to all communities that are in the process of establishing low-income transit systems.”

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Affordability Secretary Matt Jones said low-income transit programs help families focus on improving their quality of life, such as B. by putting food on the table.

Low-income transit passes can bring the cost of adult monthly passes down to as much as $5.60, depending on income, he said.

“These are real savings that can have a major impact on the lives of Albertans with limited financial resources,” Jones told reporters.

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“That means everyone can better access and participate in their communities, and it means significant long-term benefits for the broader community and our province.”

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However, Jones and Nixon gave no details on how the program will benefit Banff and Canmore, where public transportation is already free for residents.

Banff Mayor Corrie DiManno said the funding will help improve connectivity between communities in the Bow Valley through roam transit, which runs through Banff, Canmore and Lake Louise.

Roam Transit recorded a record 1.65 million riders last year, an 8.5 percent increase from the previous record set in 2019, according to DiManno.

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“On behalf of the community, thank you for helping us achieve our goals of making Banff a more affordable place to live and developing a resilient, sustainable transportation network for all,” she said.

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Canmore Mayor Sean Krausert said the money would also help improve service and reduce operating costs in Banff.

“It will help us provide the services we offer for free (to residents) and provide low-income transit passes for locals. It helps the whole system,” Krausert told reporters.

“It strengthens our transit system so they can do better and allow other dollars to strengthen the system… It gives us the foundation to provide these services.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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