Liberals tap $2.5B of promised transit dollars for zero-emission buses

Liberals release $2.5B for municipalities to purchase electric buses, want municipalities to use the Canada Infrastructure Bank to create private companies to operate their electric vehicle infrastructure, such as charging stations.

The Canadian Press with CNC files

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are setting aside some of the billions planned in short-term transit spending to help municipalities further green their bus fleets.

The hope is that the $2.75 billion in traditional grant money will dovetail with the $1.5 billion an infrastructure-financing agency is supposed to invest toward the same cause.

Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna says the grant money is supposed to help cover the upfront cost of purchasing electric buses to replace diesel-powered engines rumbling through Canadian streets.

She says federal funding has helped cities purchase 300 buses and the government hopes the funding will help buy 5,000 zero-emission buses over the next five years.

But she acknowledges there are added costs that need to be addressed, including having charging stations on transit routes and in existing depots.

The Liberals are hoping cities then turn to the Canada Infrastructure Bank to finance the cost of the remaining work. The goal of the CIB is to attract private capital to projects that can generate an on-going revenue stream that generates a market-based equity return to investors.


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