Posted on Mar 11, 2016

Taking STEPs

Our Alberta Government is taking steps toward improving public transportation for Albertans across our province.

Alberta Transportation recently launched a provincial engagement plan for regional transit and rural bus service. It is my hope that everyone will weigh in with their thoughts on what transit in Alberta ought to look like. What could you use transit for? How could transit best serve you and your family? Our government is committed to Regional public transit and rural bus services, and we want to know what you think the criteria should be for these types of investments.

Transportation Minister Brian Mason announced the third call for Green TRIP applications. Our goal with the new provincial transit strategy and funding criteria for future investment in municipal transit initiatives and rural bus service to move beyond Green TRIP while maintaining our commitment to public transportation in rural and urban communities, and our focus on protecting the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions as part of our Climate Leadership Plan.

We know that Albertans support our plan to enhance public transit as a safe, affordable, accessible and environmentally sustainable transportation option. Such options are increasingly important for Alberta’s growing and diversifying population. Everyone needs to be able to get where they need to go, whether to and from work, recreation centres, health care facilities or simply the grocery store. This can be especially challenging for seniors, students, people with disabilities and families working on a fixed income – folks who do not necessarily drive their own private vehicles.

We are inviting you to tell us what you think the government ought to do about such transportation challenges. What criteria do you think municipalities should follow if they want to access funding for transit operations? Should they take a regional focus, involving surrounding communities wherever it makes sense to do so? For more remote areas, what should a provincially supported rural bus service look like? What is your vision for an overarching transit strategy to guide Alberta’s policies and programs into the future?

These are important questions, questions we know Albertans are prepared to answer. Please visit the Alberta provincial engagement website www.alberta.ca/provincial-transit-engagement.cfm and complete the online survey.

Minister Mason and Alberta Transportation staff will also listen to municipal and Indigenous leaders, along with industry officials and others, to ensure that all voices are heard as this important conversation takes place.

During challenging economic times it is important that the government invest wisely in infrastructure projects that create jobs in the short and long terms and, ultimately, provide valuable service to Albertans. I look forward to working with you to develop the criteria for new municipal transit initiatives and rural bus services programs, along with a provincial transit strategy, to ensure that they best meet the needs of all Albertans. Help us get where we need to go.