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Ribbon cutting signals enhanced Transit services in Fort McMurray

PHOTO. (Left to Right) MLA Tany Yao, Transportation Minister Ric McIver, Elder Hazel Derange, MLA Laila Goodridge, RMWB Councillor Jane Stroud, and Mayor Don Scott. Supplied by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

The bus bay turnouts in Thickwood and Timberlea have officially opened.

Mayor Don Scott, Alberta Minister of Transportation Ric McIver, and local dignitaries gathered at the transit storage centre near the Fort McMurray Airport.

They held an official ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate enhancements to Fort McMurray’s transit system.

The centre received $25.5-million in funds and supported nearly 100 jobs from design to construction starting in 2018.

McIver said the facilities will make bus trips easier and safer.

“We’re committed to ensuring Albertans have viable options to get to and from work, school, and wherever they need to go. These transit improvements will provide safer, more efficient, and ultimately more comfortable transportation networks in Fort McMurray.”

Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche MLA Laila Goodridge said it’s wonderful to see the province invest in important projects improving quality of life in Fort McMurray.

“This is especially important for students in our high schools who take the bus to school. The new storage centre will also lead to lower costs and substantially lower emissions by reducing idling.”

Alberta’s GreenTRIP initiative provided $17-million, while the Municipality provided $8.5-million.

Mayor Scott said investments by all three levels of government into the Bus Bay Turnout and Transit Shelter Project will enhance safety for transit users.

“We are grateful to the federal and provincial governments for these important investments in local transit infrastructure. These facilities enhance transit service and quality of life in our community by providing improved transfer efficiency, safety and a better experience for transit users.”

Started in 2017, total funding for the project is $10-million, which included $6.5-million from Alberta and created 52 jobs.

The federal government provided $3.5-million through the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF).

“Public transit helps Canadians get around in ways that are cleaner and more affordable,” said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “The new bus shelters and passenger loading bays in Fort McMurray will make catching the bus safer and easier, and will help traffic flow more smoothly.”

Both projects opened in December 2019.

Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Tany Yao thanked the province for continuing to invest in the RMWB.

“This transit infrastructure, along with the road resurfacing and street lamp repairs, have gone a long way to remediating our transportation issues.”

The project includes heated shelters connected by new concrete sidewalks along Thickwood Boulevard and Confederation Way.