(BC Transit/Facebook)

On a visit to the provincial capital, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced over $79 million in joint funding for 118 new public transit buses in Victoria and across B.C.

This investment will allow BC Transit to replace buses that are at the end of their life cycle, or add to the fleet in communities with growing demand for public transit.

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It also includes funding for 10 long-range electric buses for Greater Victoria which promise to have improved accessibility and safety features, and will support BC Transit’s new NextRide technology and CCTV security cameras.

Trudeau made the announcement alongside BC Premier John Horgan and BC Transit President and CEO Erinn Pinkerton, at the transportation company’s corporate office in Victoria.

“Many British Columbians depend on public transit to get where they need to go safely and efficiently. As communities in B.C. continue to grow, investments in public transit need to keep pace,” said Trudeau in an official statement.

“By investing in reliable, efficient public transit, we are making a real difference in the lives of British Columbians, while protecting our environment and making our communities stronger.”

The Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia are each contributing approximately $31 million towards the purchase of the new buses, while municipalities are pitching in more than $16 million total.

In Victoria, BC Transit promises to implement NextRide, their live bus tracking system, on July 25th, allowing commuters to check the location of their bus and its predicted arrival time at their stop in real-time.

While NextRide was originally expected to launch in Victoria in Spring 2019, it was delayed until the summer due to installation challenges with the city’s large and diverse bus fleet.

Protesting the PM

Prime Minister Trudeau was in Victoria last night to attend a Liberal Party fundraising event at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort.

The fundraising event, called In Conversation with the Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, cost $300 for regular attendees or $100 for registered members of the Liberal Party’s Laurier Club.

See also: Trudeau government approves Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

Trudeau was last in Victoria in April 2018 when his visit met with ample protestors demanding that he rescind support of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.

Last night’s event was no different, as protestors from a group called ‘Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island‘ gathered outside the event to continue the anti-pipeline protest.

Earlier this month, Trudeau officially approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project in a vote for the second time.

The controversial decision was made after the federal government’s initial approval of the project was overruled by a Federal Court of Appeal ruling which found that there was not sufficient consultation with Indigenous groups.