[In case you haven't seen it yet: http://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/press/top/2012/11/2012-11-27-130900-15693.html]

November 27, 2012


– – –
New Active Transportation Fund Launched

Winnipeg, Manitoba, November 27, 2012 – New Active Transportation funding is now available to help rural communities start projects and improve local infrastructure designed to encourage people to use alternatives to motor vehicle transportation.

Municipalities and northern communities with populations of fewer than 50,000 residents are eligible to apply to the Active Transportation Fund, made possible by a $1-million investment from the federal Gas Tax Fund.

“This program builds on the Small Communities Transit Fund launched in 2010, making $1 million in federal Gas Tax funding available to cost-share active transportation projects with eligible municipalities over the next two years,” said the Honourable Ron Lemieux,Local Government Minister. “People are becoming more health and environmentally conscious and are switching to public transportation, bicycles and walking. As these activities increase, people will see improved health benefits, lower transportation costs and fewer cars and trucks on the road. Reducing greenhouse-gas emissions is good for us and for our environment.”

“Our Government is committed to supporting infrastructure projects in municipalities across Canada,” said the Honourable Steven Fletcher, Minister of State (Transport) and Member of Parliament for Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia. “We are proud of our $1-million investment in this program which will help municipalities across Manitoba promote environmentally friendly transportation. The Gas Tax fund is just one of the ways our Government is carrying out our promise to help create jobs and stimulate economic growth across the country.”

The program provides 50 per cent cost-shared funding for eligible projects up to a maximum of $50,000 per project. Eligible projects include:

“The benefits of active transportation for Manitoba communities are wide ranging,” said Association of Manitoba Municipalities President Doug Dobrowolski. “This initiative will reduce pressure on our over-burdened municipal streets and roads. The health of our citizens is also important to local governments. That’s why active transportation options are a win-win – they reduce costs and improve our quality of life.”

The Manitoba government is launching a dedicated active transportation website to promote and support small communities in developing sustainable active transportation options. The website offers Manitoba success stories; resources and tools for municipalities, schools and community groups; information on safety; maps of trails and pathways around the province; and information on programs and agencies that support active transportation. The new provincial government web address is www.gov.mb.ca/ia/index.html.

Together, all these tools and resources will help municipalities integrate active transportation planning, design and implementation with land use and transportation planning. Today’s commitments are part of the Manitoba government’s three-year action plan to promote and improve active transportation across Manitoba.

The Government of Canada’s Gas Tax Fund provides long-term funding to local governments to help them build and revitalize public infrastructure. In December 2011, the Government of Canada passed legislation to make the Gas Tax Fund a permanent annual investment of $2 billion per year. Through this fund alone, the federal government provides $66,157,000 in funding annually for municipal infrastructure in Manitoba.

The Government of Canada has engaged provinces, territories, municipalities and key stakeholders in a series of roundtables to guide the development of a new long-term infrastructure plan that will support job creation, economic growth and prosperity.  To improve infrastructure across Canada and ensure affordability and sustainability over the long term, the Government’s new plan will encourage greater use of public-private partnerships. This will help leverage new investments in infrastructure, while respecting Canadian taxpayers’ ability to pay.

Lemieux noted the Action Plan on Active Transportation is part of  Manitoba’s green plan called TomorrowNow, which sets out an eight-year strategic action plan for mobilizing Manitobans to work together to protect the environment, while ensuring a prosperous and environmentally conscious economy.  More information can be found at: www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/tomorrownowgreenplan/.

- 30 -