Tuesday, October 1, 2013

KELOWNA – Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, joined Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country, Walter Gray, Mayor of Kelowna, and Mike Davis, chief operating officer and vice-president operations for BC Transit to celebrate the official opening of the new Rutland Transit Exchange and welcome three new Vicinity buses.

“Investments in public transit will keep Kelowna’s residents and visitors moving, contribute to productivity, and reduce the amount of greenhouse-gas emissions across the region,” said Cannan. “Our government is proud to invest in infrastructure projects, such as the Rutland Exchange, as we focus on creating jobs, promoting growth and building strong, prosperous communities across Canada.”

The Rutland transit exchange is part of the frequent transit network, and provides commuters with direct access to RapidBus service. The network offers riders service at least every 15 minutes, or more frequently, during peak hours. The new exchange is also part of the City of Kelowna’s revitalization program for the area.

In addition to the new transit exchange, three new Vicinity buses will be added to Kelowna’s regional transit system beginning this week. The environmentally friendly buses are designed to meet community needs and will improve access for people with mobility challenges. They also provide long-term fuel and maintenance savings for communities. Kelowna is one of six communities in B.C. to receive the new sleek and modern buses.

“Transit service is essential to supporting families and building strong communities,” said Letnick. “In addition to the recent RapidBus expansion to the Westside, these new improvements will make taking the bus easier and encourage more people to ride the bus.”

The Rutland transit exchange was funded through a $1.4-million contribution from the federal Gas Tax Fund, $2 million from the Government of British Columbia and $1.1 million from the City of Kelowna, for a total of $4.5 million.

“This project is the first major component in the revitalization of the Rutland Town Centre,” said Gray. “The Rutland Transit Exchange and associated roadway and pedestrian improvements have made a tremendous improvement for the Rutland community, residents and businesses.”

RapidBus service, once complete in summer 2014, will provide 30 kilometres of service between University of British Columbia Okanagan and West Kelowna. This will save transit users approximately 20 minutes travel time, making it easier and faster for families and commuters.

“This exchange, the new Vicinity buses and RapidBus all add up to better transit service for Kelowna area residents,” said Davis. “BC Transit is pleased to have partnered with the federal, provincial and local governments to connect people to their destinations easier and faster than ever before.”

The RapidBus project costs $46 million, with the Government of Canada contributing up to $10.9 million from the Building Canada Fund – Major Infrastructure Component and another $6 million from the Gas Tax Fund. The Government of B.C. is contributing $23.9 million, the City of Kelowna $5.2 million and West Kelowna is contributing land.

The federal Gas Tax Fund transfer provides long-term funding to municipalities across the country to build and revitalize their local infrastructure. The Government of Canada has now made the GTF a permanent transfer and has proposed improvements that will see the GTF grow from its current $2 billion per year, while providing increased flexibility on how the money can be used to fund local infrastructure priorities. Discussions are underway with provinces and territories to renew the GTF agreements so that these improvements can be implemented as soon as possible.

Between 2006 and 2014, British Columbia will receive more than $1.56 billion from the Gas Tax Fund transfer to improve local infrastructure. The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) administers the Gas Tax Fund in B.C., in collaboration with Canada and British Columbia.

Learn more:
For information on Kelowna RapidBus, visit: www.kelownarapidbus.ca

For additional information about federal investments in infrastructure, visit: www.infrastructure.gc.ca or follow us on Twitter at @INFC_eng

For information on the Government of British Columbia’s Transit Plan, visit: www.th.gov.bc.ca/Transit_Plan/

For information on BC Transit, visit: www.bctransit.com/

For information on the City of Kelowna, visit: www.kelowna.ca/

Media Contacts:
Marie-Josée Paquette Press Secretary Office of the Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec 
613 943-1838

Kate Trotter
Government Communications & Public Engagement Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure
250 356-8421

Tom Wilson
City of Kelowna
Corporate Communications Supervisor
250 469-8663

Sharlene Smith
BC Transit Kelowna Rapid Bus
250 882-1583

Connect with the Province of B.C. at www.gov.bc.ca/connect