“I am pleased to announce that Alberta’s government will step up with $79.5 million for transit systems in Alberta municipalities that are feeling the financial pinch brought on by the pandemic. Our commitment will match the federal government’s recent funding announcement.

“Barring any questions from the federal government on our approach, we will be moving quickly to advance grant agreements with municipalities and get cheques out the door.

“This plan allows for providing municipalities with nearly $159 million to help offset losses to transit revenue, which in turn has affected their operating costs.

“It’s no secret that municipal transit systems suffered losses during the pandemic with people working and studying remotely and using transit less.

“As people start returning to work, public transit is a critical component to economic recovery.

“Public transit is an essential service, in particular for students who are returning to on-campus learning, seniors and other vulnerable populations who may be re-entering the workforce to get to and from work or re-engaging in social activities.

“These agreements will require commitments from recipient municipalities to utilize all funds on transit operating shortfalls or transit capital.

“Alberta’s government is proud to step up and recognizes the value of these much-needed programs.”