Canadians can look forward to a major boost in their bike commute – and weekend rides – in the coming years. Today, Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, announced $400 million in federal funding for new and expanded networks of bike lanes, trails, pathways and pedestrian bridges.
“Canadians love using safe cycling paths and trails to get around their towns and cities. It’s a great way to stay healthy, enjoy nature, and connect to public transit, and it is good for the environment,” Minister McKenna said in the announcement. “This investment will make it easier for more people to get around on foot, bikes, scooters, wheelchairs and e-bikes. This is the first national project of its kind in Canada.”
First federal investment in active transportation
This is the first federal fund dedicated to building active transportation through Canada. The project is intended to develop more efficient, cleaner and more affordable transportation alternatives. It is part of a larger project to work toward Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. The current announcement of $400 million will be spread out over five years, and target cycling and multi-use, pedestrian and wheelchair-accessible infrastructure.
“With the launch of the fund for active transportation with support for an Active Transportation Strategy, the path is set for more Canadians than ever to choose cycling, rolling or walking as safe and enjoyable alternatives to motorized transport,” said Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “Today is the day we put active transportation networks within reach of every community.”
It is part of a larger, $14.9-billion public transit investment outlined by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister McKenna earlier in February 2021.
Engaging with public feedback
Minister McKenna also launched a stakeholder engagement for Canada’s Active Transportation Strategy, to help decide how the program will invest the funds. The strategy will include input from the public as well as provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous communities and not-for-profit organizations and businesses.
“Vélo Canada Bikes and active transportation supporters across Canada are absolutely thrilled that such a significant investment in active transportation has been made,” commented Kate Walker, Vice-chair of the Board, Vélo Canada Bikes. “Today’s federal investment in active transportation infrastructure will lead to significant health, environmental, social, and economic benefits for our country.”