Bus rapid transit in Calgary gets $85M boost in federal-provincial infrastructure deal

Calgary's growing bus rapid transit system will get an $85-million boost as part of a major new infrastructure funding deal between the provincial government and Ottawa. ​

Funding also earmarked for light rail vehicles, and refurbishment of transit stations

There will be an $85-million expansion of the southeast Bus Rapid Transitway as part of a new federal-provincial infrastructure funding deal. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Public transit projects in Calgary are getting a $136-million boost as part of a major new infrastructure funding deal between the provincial government and Ottawa. 

Calgary MP Kent Hehr, the federal minister of veterans affairs, was joined by Kathleen Ganley, the provincial minister of justice, and Calgary's deputy mayor, Richard Pootmans, for the announcement at the McDougall Centre on Thursday morning.

The initial list of approved projects in Calgary includes an $85-million expansion of the southeast Bus Rapid Transitway (BRT), funding for light rail vehicles, and the refurbishment of several transit stations.

Federal cabinet minister Kent Hehr, in Calgary for a transit and water infrastructure announcement, says good public transit is essential for economic growth. (CBC)

Half of the $136 million will come from Ottawa, with the province and the City of Calgary covering the remainder equally.

Pootmans said the investment will allow the city to move ahead with the second phase of its southeast BRT project. 

"We are building a dedicated transit bridge over Deerfoot Trail and the Bow River, which will include new pathway and cycling connections," he said. 

The funding will also allow the city to move ahead with plans to buy more of the new-generation "Mask" C-Train cars, which will enable Calgary Transit to complete the transition to four-car C-Trains capable of carrying 800 passengers at a time.

More funding for Calgary transit projects will be announced in the coming weeks, the province said in a release. 

The funding is part of the an agreement signed in Edmonton earlier in the day between the federal and provincial governments that will make more than $1.08 billion in funding available under two new federal programs — the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund and the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.

"Getting people where they need to go safely, quickly and comfortably is fundamental to economic growth and building an inclusive society," Hehr said. 

Pootmans said the funding agreement 

Seventeen water and wastewater projects across the province were also announced, including a regional water supply system extension in Beaver Mines Regional Water Supply in the MD of Pincher Creek and the County of Forty Mile. 

Edmonton gets $144M

At an event in Edmonton, officials announced the federal government has also agreed to put $143.9 million toward 46 Edmonton transit projects. 

With matching funds split between the city and the province, the projects will see total funding of $287.8 million.

The approved projects include the design of several LRT lines, as well as refurbishment and upgrades to transit stations.

The funding is part of the first phase of the Liberal's $120-billion infrastructure plan, which will be rolled out over the next 10 years.