NDP glad to see calls for ferry funding get results

VICTORIA  ― New Democrats are glad to see their calls for ferries to be included in federal infrastructure programs are addressed in the government’s New Building Canada Fund announcement yesterday. NDP MPs from British Columbia campaigned on changing the eligibility criteria to allow BC ferries to seek funding for infrastructure, terminals, fleet upgrades and new vessels.

“We’re glad to see the government finally listened to calls from the NDP and others to make ferry systems eligible for infrastructure funding,” said Rachel Blaney Deputy Critic for Infrastructure and Communities MP Rachel Blaney (North Island—Powell River). “They are a crucial part of regional transportation and a lifeline here on the island.”  

In December, NDP MPs Murray Rankin (Victoria), Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley), Rachel Blaney (North Island—Powell River), Randall Garrison (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke), Gord Johns (Courtenay-Alberni), Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford) and Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) co-signed a letter to Minister Sohi asking him to make the necessary changes to the New Building Canada Fund.

The Federal Budget made no mention of ferry eligibility but months of campaigning from NDP MPs, the government of BC and other stakeholders has succeeded in changing the government’s mind as evidenced by the Minister’s announcement Monday.

“Victoria relies on the coastal ferry system for our residents and our tourism economy,” said Murray Rankin. “After years of fare hikes, hopefully this will reduce BC Ferries dependence on passing on costs to ferry users.”

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