Transport Action Atlantic hosted a successful Annual General Meeting at the CN Pensioner’s Center in Moncton this past Saturday. Though the turnout was smaller than in some years, no doubt thanks to Saturday being one of the few really beautiful spring days we’ve had so far, the discussion among those who attended was engaging and enjoyable.
Our slate of panelists provided some excellent and thought provoking discussion on the topic of how we get to sustainable transportation, covering a wide range of topics that affect communities throughout the Maritimes. Special thanks to our excellent panelists: David Coon (MLA Fredericton South), Greg Turner (Councillor at-large, Moncton), Erica Butler (journalist, Halifax Examiner), Adrian Hetherington (traffic analyst), and Michael Perry (TAA Board member, involved with RuralLynx/Charlotte County transit initiative).
A correspondent from CTV News was on hand to cover the event. You can read the CTV article below, complete with a short video clip including interviews with TAA President Ted Bartlett, TAA Vice President Ashley Morton, and panelist and New Brunswick Green MLA (Fredericton South) David Coon. The CTV report only touches on a few of the day’s topics, as the conversation also covered passenger rail, ferries, local transit, and general issues about how varying levels of government can work together to meet public transportation needs.
This week’s federal budget had little to get excited about from a VIA Rail perspective – operating funding for the next 3 years will remain at levels that are barely enough to maintain the current system, and there’s no new funding for fleet replacement or other capital projects. One can always hope that these projects may still be in the plans for the near future, but as always, it’s worth contacting your MPs to continue to let them know that you support better funding for passenger rail.
Marine Atlantic also continues to be funded at current levels for the next 3 years.
However, there are some positives for public transportation in the budget, including continued plans to fund more urban transit projects across the country. In some cases, this might involve light rail or commuter rail projects. The details of those funding arrangements won’t be finalized until later in the year, but they are expected to continue much of the positive work that the infrastructure funding in last year’s budget began.