The federal and provincial governments announced on Tuesday that the transit funding envelope of the Safe Restart Agreement – announced in July – will include eligibility for BC Ferries.
“British Columbians from all corners of the province rely on BC Ferries for safe transit to get to work, visit loved ones and explore BC,” said Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna. “The Safe Restart Agreement… will ensure BC Ferries continues to provide these essential services.”
In a release, the province said its decision on how to apply a portion of the federal funding for BC Ferries, along with its own matched funding commitment, will be based on considerations that put the public’s interest first.
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“Ensuring BC Ferries’ eligibility for Safe Restart funding reflects our shared values on the importance of our transit and ferry systems to the health of BC communities,” said BC Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena.
The province said a task force with representation from the provincial government, the BC Ferry Authority board, and BC Ferries Services board is working to ensure that when BC Ferries is ready to bring forward a “comprehensive relief proposal,” which it said is necessary information to support the government’s decision.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be an unprecedented challenge for our province, including our essential transportation agencies,” Trevena said. “As we work towards a funding relief decision, I expect BC Ferries to focus its attention on priority areas of public interest, including restoring service levels, keeping fares affordable and delivering a safe and responsible restart from the pandemic.”