New one-time provincial dollars will help low-income Lethbridge residents access transit. City council approved the $1 million from the Low-Income Transit Pass expansion pilot project at its Sept 19 meeting.
The provincial money required approval from council because it was not part of the operating budget, but it is no cost to the city and does not come out of municipal taxes. The extra money will be used to expand the city’s existing transit fee assistance program.
“Between May 1, 2023 and July 31, 2023, the Transit portion of the Fee Assistance Program had expended $82,574 which is able to be claimed retroactively with the announced Government of Alberta funding, effectively putting that amount back into the Fee Assistance Program,” reads a city staff report to council.
The province announced an additional $7 million for the program in the 2023 budget — previously only Calgary and Edmonton got funding from it. Money that was already allocated for the city’s program in the budget will now be used instead for the Cultural fee assistance program
The money is set to last until March 31, 2024.