Financial fuel for Alberta municipal transit systems
Alberta’s government is stepping up to provide much-needed financial support to cash-strapped municipal transit systems hit hard during the pandemic.
Premier Jason Kenney and Transportation Minister Rajan Sawhney announce funding to support transit systems in Calgary, Edmonton and 24 other Alberta municipalities.
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 (RESTOR), 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.”Jason Kenney, Premier
“Public transit is an essential service, in particular for students who are returning to on-campus learning, seniors and other vulnerable populations who may be re-entering the workforce to get to and from work or re-engaging in social activities. Alberta’s government is proud to step up and recognizes how important transit services are to our communities.”Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Transportation
“Public transit connects our communities and people, helping them get to where they need to be – whether it is to visit loved ones, to access essential services or to get home after a hard day at work. This investment helps strengthen our public transit as demand post-pandemic picks up, while helping to make life more affordable for Albertans.”Randy Boissonnault, federal Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance
The Calgary transit system will receive a cash injection of almost $82.4 million. Edmonton’s transit system will receive almost $66.9 million.
“Calgarians rely on affordable public transportation each and every day. During the pandemic, fares into our transit system dropped significantly, causing a serious budget shortfall. By managing the system prudently, we continued to support commuters. This funding is essential for addressing that shortfall as we seek to restore transit service levels and rebuild ridership for Calgarians.” Jyoti Gondek, mayor, City of Calgary
“Transit is a critical service that has been particularly hard hit during the pandemic, and today’s announcement will help to get our transit back on track. This funding will mean that Edmonton will be able to ensure our ridership rates return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024, making us the first municipality to accomplish this.”Amarjeet Sohi, mayor, City of Edmonton
“As mayor of St. Albert, I am pleased that my community is receiving significant funding from the provincial government to match federal funds allocated earlier this year to help offset transit-related revenue shortfalls. As president of Alberta Municipalities, I applaud the Government of Alberta for providing RESTOR funding to local governments across the province to help their transit systems get through these difficult times.”Cathy Heron, mayor, City of St. Albert and president, Alberta Municipalities
Funding of $9.7 million is set aside for smaller communities facing transit revenue shortfalls. Amounts were based on 2019 ridership statistics.
- Funding for the Calgary region:
- Calgary – $82,364,776
- Airdrie – $305,871
- Okotoks – $20,920
- Rocky View County (Crossfield, Irricana/Beiseker) – $18,609
- Cochrane – $15,269
- Funding for the Edmonton region:
- Edmonton – $66,968,451
- Strathcona County – $1,335,318
- St. Albert – $795,334
- Spruce Grove – $113,151
- Leduc – $103,863
- Fort Saskatchewan – $76,910
- Beaumont – $63,901
- Stony Plain – $5,000
- Funds will also be provided to other communities across the province:
- Red Deer – $2,095,524
- Lethbridge – $1,234,833
- Wood Buffalo – $1,194,284
- Bow Valley (Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise) – $1,162,420
- Medicine Hat – $627,653
- Grande Prairie – $332,852
- Cold Lake – $123,632
- Whitecourt – $23,369
- Hinton – $5,000
- Camrose – $5,000
- Black Diamond – $5,000