FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial and the federal governments are providing about $1.6 million through a cost-shared agreement to three municipal transit systems to cover COVID-19-related costs.

“Dependable public transportation is a critical service for these communities and we have to ensure these services are supported,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “This funding will assist the transit systems in getting through the first part of the pandemic.”

“We have also committed to these communities that if there is additional funding required to cover further COVID-related costs that may arise for transit, it will be available to them,” he said.

The cities of Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton, asked for financial support and detailed their transit-related losses to the provincial government. Moncton will receive $500,000, Fredericton will receive $670,000, and Saint John will receive $400,000. The municipalities will receive the funding next week.

“Local governments in New Brunswick have been hit hard by the pandemic, projecting almost $20 million in net costs due to additional expenses and the loss of user fees, transit fares, parking revenues and event cancellations,’’ said Local Government and Local Governance Reform Minister Daniel Allain. “We are pleased to work with the federal government on the Safe Restart agreement to help provide these communities some relief so that essential services can continue to be sustainable in the long-term.”

The municipalities component, which is part of the $218-million Safe Restart program for New Brunswick, will provide up to $41 million to local governments in the province to help them deliver essential services, such as public transit.

Further funding to cover COVID-related expenses incurred by municipalities will be announced soon. Local governments are encouraged to determine the net impact of COVID-19 and provide that information to the Department of Environment and Local Government as soon as possible.T he deadline for submitting the information is Dec. 31.