Progress moving along on downtown transit terminal as Minister Mason visits Lethbridge

LETHBRIDGE - Transportation Minister Brian Mason was in Lethbridge on Monday, May 28, to discuss the progress being made on the downtown transit terminal project at the city-owned parking lot on 5th Ave. S.

Back on Dec. 6, 2016, the province announced more than $12.5 million in Federal-Provincial funding for the planned Park-and-Ride regional transit terminal. Mayor Chris Spearman said at the morning press conference the provincial and federal governments are covering two-thirds of the funding for the $17 million transit terminal, while the city is covering the rest.

Mason says his reason for coming to Lethbridge is to support the building of this important transit centre.

"The provincial government has contributed over $10-million to various transit programs in Lethbridge, including this one. I think Mayor Spearman and city council have been very good partners with us to improve transit and make life better for people in the city," Mason said, adding his acknowledgement of the work of Lethbridge-East MLA Maria Fitzpatrick and Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips for the work they've done in advocating on behalf of the City of Lethbridge.

Spearman thanked Mason for visiting the city in his remarks and talked about the importance of having a strong partnership with the provincial government as the city moves forward with a number of significant capital projects.

"One of the big benefits of this terminal will be that regional and provincial buses will be able to come to this terminal and connect with Lethbridge Transit buses," Spearman continued. "The big winners will be people like students who are attending Lethbridge College or the University of Lethbridge who will be able to come in from other communities, arrive in Lethbridge, and be connected to the educational institutions and residences where they will live."

Spearman also touted the benefits the city will see in tourism, in terms of people coming to the city, and when it comes to protecting transit customers.

"Right now, people have to stand on the corner at 4th Avenue and 6th Street who are exposed to the elements and the famous Lethbridge wind during the winter, now those people will be protected."

There will be services at the facility not only for buses, including restaurants and washrooms inside the facility.

"Things that people can access to make sure that the transit experience is as positive as it can be. There will be 300 parking stalls in the new facility, so it will serve as a park and ride as well. Whether you want to park here and take a bus out of town or park downtown to take a taxi to the airport," Spearman said.

Another focal point for the transit investments of both the provincial government and the City of Lethbridge has been reducing emissions. Asked about the impact the terminal will have, Spearman said a lot of the $10 million the city has received from the province has gone towards capital for new buses and technologies.

"What we're doing is providing cleaner, and cleaner buses for the citizens of Lethbridge and in turn reducing our environmental footprint."

Mason says if you provide good transit service, then people come out of their cars more often.

"It can lead to seriously reducing emissions," Mason continued. "Lethbridge is a pretty easy city to get around in, but this will make it even more so.

The transit terminal is expected to be open by early 2019.