Eco-friendly mass transport in Canada is set to receive a boost as the government of the country has committed to investing $2.17 billion in assisting transport companies switch to electric fleets. The investment is planned to take place over the next five years.
The fund will go to municipalities, transit authorities and schools planning to begin operating electric buses. Canada wants to see 5000 environmentally friendly buses on the road within five years. It will also fund the building of charging infrastructure for the new vehicles.
The transport sector accounts for 25% of the country’s carbon emissions, hence the need to invest in making it emission free. About 300 non-ICE buses are already in operation, with some in Vancouver, British Columbia and Guelph, Ontario.
The government also wants to spur the nascent electric vehicle manufacturing sector in the country, thereby creating more jobs and reviving the economy. Local companies like Quebec based Lion Electric will benefit from the scheme.
This new investment is separate from the one earlier announced by the Canada Infrastructure Bank, which totaled $1.18 billion and would be disbursed within the next three years. Last year, the government also announced grants to help their citizens adopt greener and more efficient energy sources.
While making the announcement, the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Catherine McKenna said “Better public transit, cleaner air, quieter streets and a planet safe for our kids–that’s the goal of our investment in zero-emission buses across Canada”.
“By making this investment, we’re tackling climate change while creating good jobs and supporting manufacturing right now, here at home. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities.”
The Canadian Urban Transit Association welcomes this initiative as it addresses the obstacles transport companies face as they attempt to move away from gasoline powered buses. CEO of the association, Marco D’Angelo said “With this assistance, transit systems can take more climate action while creating and supporting good Canadian jobs. Canada’s electric bus manufacturing sector is among the world’s most advanced. But the cost of vehicles is not the only expense in electrification as transit systems need the charging infrastructure the buses require.”