By Hugo Rodrigues POLITICS REPORTER
Tuesday March 04, 2008
WOODSTOCK - The city is benefiting from almost $200,000 in provincial money for transit buses.
Ontario Minister of Transportation Jim Bradley announced the $197,531 in funds Friday, part of a $1.9-million transit package announced by Finance Minister Dwight Duncan in his Dec. 13, 2007, economic outlook.
Under the provincial program the money must be used for capital upgrades, which includes new buses, security equipment or fare collection systems.
Woodstock treasurer Patrice Hilderley said that it’s been the city’s practice to spend all provincial money on upgrading the bus fleet, whose average age is one of the oldest in the province.
"We will use this money for the fleet, because that’s our first priority," Hilderley said Monday.
The city has purchased several new buses over the past three years. City engineer David Creery told a city council budget session Thursday that the 2007 bus should arrive in the city this March.
He also told council that if the city gets its 2008 bus order in by March, it can expect delivery of another new bus this coming October.
The city needs to replace its fleet if it intends to follow through on the recommendations included in a transit study report that is currently out for public input. Comment is being accepted on the report until Friday.
The full report is available on the city’s website and written comments can be dropped off at city hall, the public works yard on James Street or to Creery’s e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.