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Funding to help study transit plan for the County

Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis announcing the funding with PEC Mayor Robert Quaiff and the Community Foundation’s Joan Pennefather.

People and organizations who provide public transportation in Prince Edward County will be putting their heads together to formulate a business case to move forward.

Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis visited Mayor Robert Quaiff Friday afternoon to deliver $22,896 in funding to initiate the study. A request for proposals is to be issued soon, seeking a consultant to help do a full assessment.

Ellis said he hopes the funds will result in a better transit plan for the County “making it an easier option to help reach workplaces, schools, appointments or activities, and connect with friends and family.”

Mayor Quaiff said the County worked with the County Community Foundation to apply for the funding to build a business case to develop a comprehensive transit system.

“Public transit has been identified as a key challenge facing members of our community – particularly for our youth,” said Quaiff. “The funding will go a long way to help us attain an affordable and sustainable transporation system for our residents.”

Joan Pennefather, of the County Community Foundation, said a working group involving about 40 different organizations has been looking at different ways to improve transportation in the County.

“The plan is a primary step,” she said. “The goal is an integrated, affordable, sustainable system. To do that we have to look at what’s currently existing, what can use, improve, and add new pieces of the puzzle.”

Supporters for the application for funding included Deseronto Transit, Quinte Access specialized transit, Community Care for Seniors, the ROC, social services.

Ellis said the study will be a vital first step in preparing to build on the existing system.

“Here in the County this funding will be used toward the development of a feasibility study to identify current trends in usage as well as key areas for improvement in the local transit system,” said Ellis, who also mentioned looking into a big picture regional transit system.

“It’s something I’ve spoken to mayors about and discussions go back to when I was mayor (of Belleville). You have to start somewhere so it’s great all these organizations got aboard,” he said.

He noted the funds are the first of the federal government’s promise to spend $180 billion over the next 12 years in public transit, green and social infrastructure, trade and transportation as well as rural and northern communities.

Earlier in the day Ellis presented $1,493,987 to be spread across four projects in Belleville for modernization of transit storage facilities, expanding available lanes, adding more fleet vehicles and increasing transit coverage in the city.

Technology upgrades will include passenger wifi, on-board infotainment, passenger counters and apps such as ‘Where’s My Bus’.

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