Public transportation in Saskatchewan is getting a big boost by the federal government.
On Thursday, the federal government revealed it would be investing almost $308 million into Saskatchewan public transit infrastructure as part of an even deeper investment into the province’s infrastructure.
Over the next 11 years, Saskatchewan will receive $896 million.
Public Safety Minister and Regina MP Ralph Goodale made the announcement on behalf of Amarjeet Sohi, the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.
He said the program is aimed at building and rebuilding public and local infrastructure.
Transit is seeing the second most amount of money, which will go to fund an additional 14 public transit projects.
Some people pointed to the loss of STC, saying it’s too little too late. But Goodale pointed out this cash infusion wouldn’t have saved the provincial bus service as “it’s not operation money” but capital infrastructure money.
“The funding for transit is for capital assets, the physical infrastructure. That can mean purchasing the buses and related equipment, it can mean building bus lanes and the special facilities you need to run bus operations,” he explained.
“It would not be intended for the ongoing subsidization of a transit or transportation company.”
The area seeing the largest sum of money over the next decade is green infrastructure.
The Liberals said green infrastructure will receive $416 million overall to go to things like greenhouse gas mitigation, adaptation, resilience and disaster mitigation and investments in environmental quality.
“It can be things like conventional water projects to make sure that communities have clean water and there’s still a lot of that work that needs to be done in Saskatchewan,” Goodale said.
He also said money could go to water diversion projects, which could help areas like the Quill Lakes that see a deluge of water during wet years.
The money will also go towards 110 water and wastewater projects in the province.
Goodale said one of his priorities is northern Saskatchewan, which will receive $115 million along with rural communities.
“There are huge needs in northern Saskatchewan and there’s a special allotment set aside for northern Saskatchewan,” he said. “That is an area that has not had the focus and attention that it needed.”
Culture and recreation infrastructure will also receive $56 million.