The City of Thompson is receiving $141,1772 for transit from the federal government’s Safe Restart Agreement, Manitoba Municipal Relations Minister Rochelle Squires said in an Nov. 20 letter.
Funding from the $33 million federal Safe Restart Agreement transit stream was allocated by the province based on 2019 ridership and projected transit losses due over the first several months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
City transit was suspended for more than five months this year, from March 20 until Sept. 8. It was also suspended for about half of 2019 and the last two months of 2018 after Greyhound shut down in Western Canada and stopped operating Thompson’s transit system.
Nearly a year ago, the city awarded a 54-month contract to operate city transit to Maple Bus Lines at an average cost of about $11,500 per month or $139,000 per year.
The agreement sees the company operate two buses per day on weekdays from September to June and one bus per day on summer weekdays.
City manager Anthony McInnis said at the Nov. 2 council meeting that he wasn’t sure whether Thompson would qualify to receive any of the federal transit funding.
Council approved the purchase of two smaller buses from Crestline Coach in August at a cost of about $403,000 plus tax. The buses are scheduled to be delivered by March 31.
The city is also seeking to divert about $450,000 worth of guaranteed federal transit infrastructure funding over a 10-year period to a wastewater and water main renewal project submitted to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan Green green infrastructure funding stream.
The province convinced the federal government to allow Manitoba communities with guaranteed transit infrastructure funding to move it to the green project stream because that stream is oversubscribed with funding requests. Moving the funding doesn’t mean the federal government will approve the water and wastewater main renewal project and council has worded the transfer request in a way to ensure that it can only go toward that project or remain reserved for transit infrastructure.