NELSON – NDP MLA Brittny Anderson says funding for Kootenay bus operators and airports will help them stay open so people can travel for essential purposes and access the services they need.
This support will ensure these companies are able to weather the challenges due to decreased ridership brought on by the COVID-19 and help them plan for a post-pandemic world.
“People in the Kootenays know how difficult it can be to travel in and out of our region,” said MLA Anderson. “We’re taking action to make sure that these airports and transportation service providers will be ready to get back to normal service levels when the pandemic is over, and we can again welcome visitors and travel to see loved ones.”
The New Democrat government issued a one-time investment of $6.2 million to various inter-city bus operators and $16.5 million for regional airports to support operations between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022. Inter-city bus operators and regional airports will use the funds to pay for operating costs, like maintenance expenses for buses, air terminals and runways. As well as for payroll, rent and other overhead costs that keep these services operating.
Inter-city bus operators help people, especially those living in rural communities, travel safely, affordably and efficiently for essential purposes. In the past year, the industry has experienced a significant decrease in ridership, affecting revenues. This funding will help companies maintain service over the next year and build back stronger as ridership returns.
Airports have experienced a significant decrease in operating revenues that, without financial help, could affect their ability to support and sustain fire suppression and essential medical evacuation services. This grant will provide regional airports the necessary funds to maintain air terminals, runways and other operations for the essential movement of goods and people.
In Nelson-Creston, the following service providers are receiving support:
- Creston Valley Regional Airport: $180,000
- Nelson Airport: $90,000
- Mountain Man Mike: $136,800.00
- Whitewater Shuttle: $4,380.00
This announcement is part of BC’s $10 billion COVID response, which includes the StrongerBC for Everyone recovery plan — a plan that protects people’s health and livelihoods while supporting businesses and communities.