SUDBURY -- The transit system in Sault Ste. Marie received a big boost Tuesday, with $13.4 million funding for new buses, terminal relocation and other upgrades.

The cost is being shared by the federal ($5.5 million), provincial ($4.5 million) and municipal ($3.4 million) governments.

The funding includes the purchase of 22 buses to replace existing vehicles in the fleet, the province said in a news release. Fare boxes and automatic vehicle location and call-out equipment will be replaced and upgraded, providing next-stop capabilities and vehicle Wi-Fi on all 39 vehicles of the fleet.

"In addition, the downtown bus terminal will be relocated with the construction of a new addition to the main transit building," the release said. "This will provide a safe, comfortable location for riders to wait and includes a concession and public washrooms."

A new bus transfer point in the northern part of the city is also planned, allowing transit users to transfer to buses within that area without having to go downtown. The purchase of up to 25 bus shelters will replace aging shelters, while the replacement of two transit vehicles used by supervisors and mechanics will help resolve transit issues quickly and efficiently.

Many rely on public transit

“Investing in modern public transportation systems is essential to building sustainable and healthy communities," Sault MP Terry Sheehan said in the release. "Many residents in Sault Ste. Marie rely on public transit to get to work or school, and access services they need every day. The investments being made today will help transform the city’s transit system, making it more accessible to residents for years to come.”

“Transit is one of the most important services the city provides, and staff is continuing to work hard to provide a service that meets the needs of our ridership," said Sault Mayor Christian Provenzano. "I want to recognize the Government of Canada for their support. The city has a responsibility to support the movement of people throughout Sault Ste. Marie, and this support helps us meet that responsibility.”

Oakville MPP Stephen Crawford, who made the announcement on behalf of Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure, said the funding will help jump start recovery in the Sault.

“As our economy begins to reopen, the approval of these transit infrastructure projects and this joint investment from Ontario, the federal government and the City of Sault Ste. Marie will help jump start both the local recovery and create much needed jobs," Crawford said. "I am very pleased that Sault Ste. Marie can now move forward with these local priority projects and deliver improved transit infrastructure to the community.”

Through the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, the federal government is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.

Of that amount, $28.7 billion is for supporting public transit projects, including $5 billion available for investment through the Canada Infrastructure Bank.