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January 31, 2007
For immediate release

Public Transit Capital Trust Approves Four New Projects

Community and Cultural Affairs

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The Honourable Elmer MacFadyen, Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs, today announced four new projects funded under the Public Transit Capital Trust (PTCT). The PTCT is federally-funded and administered by the Province of PEI.

Recipients of the funding include Transportation West Inc., Pat and the Elephant, PEI Public Transit Coalition and the Towns of Cornwall and Stratford.

“Canada’s New Government is pleased to support initiatives that help disabled people enjoy mobility and all Islanders enjoy improved air quality,” said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

“The Province is pleased to work collaboratively with the federal and local governments on these projects which will have a direct impact on residents,” said Minister MacFadyen. “These projects will help to maintain vibrant communities in rural and urban areas of the province.”

The PTCT was created to support capital investments in public transit infrastructure, contributing to PEI’s environmental goals. It was created in 2006 with a one-time $3.8 million contribution from the Government of Canada and is administered by the province of PEI.

Transportation West Inc. will receive $215,000 to replace two buses and one six-passenger van. Transportation West Inc. is a community-driven organization providing transit services primarily for mobility-challenged residents in the Western PEI region. “The current fleet is old,” said John Kenny, chairperson of Transportation West Inc. “The new vehicles will lower maintenance costs and improve dependability for our riders.”

“Transportation West is a vital part of our community,” said the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Transportation and Public Works and MLA for District 27. “I am so pleased that our government is recognizing their contribution and providing this much needed funding.”

Pat and the Elephant also provides valuable transport services to mobility-challenged Islanders and visitors alike. A contribution of $125,000 will be used to purchase two new specially-equipped vans with hydraulic lifts, ramps, special tie-downs, and seatbelts. “Pat and the Elephant is committed to providing an excellent transportation service to people with a broad range of disabilities,” said Tom DeBlois, president of Pat and the Elephant. “The vans provide a safe, convenient way for Islanders in need to get around, especially in bad weather.”

Pat and the Elephant also received $125,000 from the Canada-PEI Public Transit Agreement. These funds were used to purchase two mobility vans in 2006.

The PTCT is also funding two studies for the PEI Public Transit Coalition and the Towns of Cornwall and Stratford.

The PEI Public Transit Coalition will receive $125,000 to conduct a regional transit study. This study will include contracting a professional public transit consultancy firm to examine the viability and resources required to establish an Island-wide public transit system.

“The recent approval of resources to undertake a feasibility study into Island-wide public transit, through the Public Transit Trust program, is exciting,” says Public Transit Coalition outreach officer, Daniel McRae. “We believe this study will allow communities to develop a vision of how a local and across-Island transit system might improve rural residents access to community health and educational resources as well as job opportunities.”

The aerospace sector is also excited to hear about the approval of funding for the feasibility study. Willard Horne, Executive Director of the Aerospace Sector Council notes, “We feel strongly that a lack of affordable transportation acts as a significant employment barrier for many Islanders and creates recruiting challenges for employers, especially those with large seasonal fluctuations.”

The Towns of Cornwall and Stratford will partner for a Transit Feasibility Study, receiving $40,000 from the PTCT. These two towns are growing rapidly and through this funding the Towns of Cornwall and Stratford will commission a study to examine the necessity and the practicality of public transit systems.

“The Town of Stratford is very pleased to be receiving funding from the federal and provincial governments to carry out a transit study,” stated Kevin Jenkins, Mayor of the Town of Stratford. “The assessment of transit demand, and the examination of a range of options to meet that demand, will allow Council to make an informed decision on transit for our residents.”

Patrick MacFadyen, Mayor of the Town of Cornwall stated, “We are delighted that the federal and provincial governments are helping to move this initiative forward. Without their support a regional transit system would not be possible.”


Transportation West Inc.:

Transportation West Inc. is a not-for-profit, community-driven organization. It has been operating since 1999, serving those with needs in the West Prince area. Transportation West Inc. provides accessible transportation for people with special needs (debilitating conditions, seniors, and people who lack transportation) in the Western region of PEI. Transportation West covers approximately 300 square kilometers north and west of Harmony and Northam Roads.

Their service provides typically 40 to 50 passenger trips per day in their wheelchair accessible vehicles. However, Transportation West’s vehicles are aging and have become unreliable. Replacing the current fleet will allow Transportation West to continue offering dependable, cost-efficient transportation services to the residents of Western PEI, particularly those who require special attention and devices for safe travel.

For more information, contact John Kenny, Chairperson of Transportation West Inc., (902) 853-2069.

Pat and the Elephant:

Founded by Patricia Rogers in 1975, Pat and the Elephant is a non-profit organization located in Queens County of Prince Edward Island. They are committed to providing an excellent transportation service to people with a broad range of disabilities by means of accessible vehicles with trained knowledgeable staff. They service individuals who are visually impaired, have artificial limbs, hearing impaired, and/or wheelchair mobile.

Their clients range in age from 16 months to 100 plus and are transported to locations such as daycare, school, university, the doctor’s clinic, the Seniors Active Living Centre, the grocery store, and to the homes of family and friends. For visitors to the province, Pat and the Elephant can do tours to any of the Island’s tourist attractions.

Pat and the Elephant clients are “People Going Places” and travel in specially-equipped vans with hydraulic lifts, ramps, special tie-downs, and seatbelts. A wheelchair can be provided, at no extra cost, to ensure all clients are able to complete their outings.

Towns of Cornwall and Stratford, Transit Feasibility Study:

The Town of Cornwall (2001 Census: population 4,412) and the Town of Stratford (2001 Census: population 6,314) are growing rapidly in relation to the rest of the province.

In recent years, the City of Charlottetown has established a transit system, which is delivered through a contract with private operator Trius Tours. Many residents of Stratford and Cornwall commute to Charlottetown to work and for personal business; therefore, the Towns of Cornwall and Stratford wish to see if there is validity in expanding a transit system to serve their residents.

The Towns of Cornwall and Stratford have commissioned a study to examine the feasibility of an expanded transit system. The study will be carried out as one study, but each Town will be examined independently and recommendations made for each.

P.E.I. Transit Coalition:

In November of 2000, 12 community organizations came together to form the P.E.I. Public Transit Coalition (PTC). Since that time the PTC has grown to include 29 member organizations. The mission of the PTC is to support the establishment of a community-based innovative public transit system across the Island through a process of public education and outreach that informs the provincial, municipal governments and Islanders of the impacts resulting from the absence of public transit. In addition, the PTC seeks to provide examples of innovative community-based transit systems existing in other localities that are similar in size and form to the Province of PEI.

Media Contact: Autumn Tremere
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