The funding, announced in Victoria on Wednesday, will allow the transit service to buy 115 battery electric buses and install 134 charging stations across the province.
The federal contribution amounts to nearly $170 million, while the B.C. government is putting in just under $159 million. BC Transit’s share of the funding comes to just over $67 million.
West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country Liberal MP Patrick Weiler said the funding will help Canada meet its national targets of cutting total greenhouse gas emissions 40 per cent by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050.
“New infrastructure projects must be part of the fight against climate change and a transition to a cleaner economy and a more resilient country,” he said.
“As we’ve seen in this summer and in years past, the climate crisis demands urgent action. Since the beginning of 2023, forest fires have burned more than 11 million hectares of land across Canada.”
B.C. Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said vehicle transportation currently accounts for as much as 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in the province.
“Getting it right, moving towards zero-emission vehicles and new technologies is part of taking a huge chunk of greenhouse gasses out of the atmosphere and showing leadership for other jurisdictions to follow,” he said.
“I’m very proud that British Columbia is a first and early adopter of new zero-emission vehicle technology, it’s inspiring to other provinces and other states.”
Ryan Drake, a deployment manager with BC Transit working to coordinate Victoria’s electric bus program, said crews have been test-running one of the new battery electric buses, to prepare a deployment of 10 of the vehicles this fall.
“It’s a really exciting step,” he said.
“We’ve been driving this bus from Sooke to Sidney on every route to make sure it meets our range requirements, our operation expectations, and that we kind of know we can provide that safe reliable service our customers expect.”
BC Transit aims to convert its entire fleet provincewide to electric vehicles by 2040.