Transit services in Lethbridge and area got a major boost Saturday with the announcement of $12.55 million in new Federal-Provincial funding.
The City will receive $10.1 million from the province's GreenTRIP program and $2 million from the federal Public Transportation Infrastructure Fund to support the construction of a downtown regional park 'n' ride transit terminal. In addition to the provincial and federal funding, the City of Lethbridge will contribute $4.9 million toward the overall $17 million cost of the transit terminal project.
The City will also receive $420,000 in provincial GreenTRIP funding towards a $630,000 project that will improve accessibility in the transit system. These funds will support the installation of audio cues on fare boxes and a next-stop announcing system for those unable to read the visual screens.
"We are extremely appreciative that the provincial and federal governments are investing in transit for our community," says Mayor Chris Spearman. "This is a wonderful opportunity to enhance our own City transit system but also provide a hub for transit service."
Provincial Infrastructure Minister Brian Mason was in Calgary Saturday for the announcement along with his federal counterpart, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. In total the federal, provincial and municipal governments are contributing more than $500 million to transit projects across Alberta. Details of this announcement can be found at: http://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=4495092FBE082-E838-F0F3-E12271EF841056A9
"In Lethbridge, the creation of a transit terminal will address current convenience and safety challenges in the downtown core," says Councillor Ryan Parker, City Council's representative on the Heart of Our City committee. "It will also provide a park 'n' ride option for those using other bus services to travel throughout the region."
The transit terminal will provide ticket stations, washrooms, protection from the weather and a safe and easy place to transfer buses. This is in line with the Government of Alberta's goals of promoting regional transit and reducing greenhouse gases.
"Strong public transit is needed as our city continues to grow," says Councillor Blaine Hyggen, a board member with the Canadian Urban Transit Association. "These enhancements to our transit system will help make Lethbridge more livable, healthier and more efficient."
Construction of the transit terminal is anticipated to begin in early 2018 with completion expected within approximately two years. The new facility will provide a central location for residents in surrounding communities to park their vehicle and access regional providers. Additionally, Lethbridge residents will be able to easily access City transit to the terminal when taking a regional trip.
The identified location for the new transit terminal is a City-owned parking lot located along the 700 block of 5 Avenue South. The terminal will improve accessibility with ten drop-off/pick-up locations and one-way traffic flow in and out of the site. Half will be covered by a parking structure providing weather protection. Removing buses from 4 Avenue South will also free up much needed downtown parking space and decrease the potential for collisions.
Tara Grindle, Communications Consultant