Advertisement

Bike paths, trails, walkways: Canada unveils first-ever ‘active transportation’ fund

Click to play video: 'City of Edmonton welcomes new active transportation funding' City of Edmonton welcomes new active transportation funding
WATCH ABOVE: An Edmonton active transportation advocacy group is welcoming new federal funding for infrastructure across the country. As Nicole Stillger explains, the city calls it a big win for municipalities – Mar 13, 2021

Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna says for the first time Canada is to have a pool of money dedicated specifically to “active transportation.”

The National Active Transportation Fund, $400 million to be spent over five years, will nearly quadruple the amount of money Canada spent over the last five years building and upgrading bike paths, pedestrian walkways and bridges, and nature trails.

About $130 million has been spent since 2015 on 126 projects, including a new footbridge in Ottawa, a bikeway in Halifax and trails in Grouse Mountain Regional Park in Vancouver.

Read more: City of Ottawa to expand electric bus pilot with federal funding

But McKenna says those projects competed directly against public transit initiatives for the same pool of cash.

Story continues below advertisement

The new $400 million for the program is coming out of the $14.9 billion, eight-year public transit plan Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled last month.

But this money can only be used for active transportation projects.

Click to play video: 'Three levels of government help finance eight public transit and active transportation projects in Kingston' Three levels of government help finance eight public transit and active transportation projects in Kingston
Three levels of government help finance eight public transit and active transportation projects in Kingston – Aug 10, 2020

“There wasn’t a separate active-transportation fund,” she said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Building better public transit networks with electric buses and light-rail systems is fantastic but not everyone is going to live right next to such a network, said McKenna.

Read more: $14.9B promised to Canadian cities for ‘major public transit projects’

Story continues below advertisement

In Ottawa, she noted, the new light-rail system will eventually bring a train to within five kilometres of about 80 per cent of the city’s residents.

“But we need to get them to it,” she said.

Building pathways so people can bike to trains instead of driving their cars is good for everyone, said McKenna.

She is also working on a national active-transportation strategy and launching public consultation to help guide its development this week.

Click to play video: 'Saskatoon looking to capitalize on federal transit dollars for BRT' Saskatoon looking to capitalize on federal transit dollars for BRT
Saskatoon looking to capitalize on federal transit dollars for BRT – Feb 15, 2021

Sponsored content