Program delayed

A $2-billion provincial program designed to reduce vehicle greenhouse gas emissions continues to stall after being unveiled 13 months ago.

A $2-billion provincial program designed to reduce vehicle greenhouse gas emissions continues to stall after being unveiled 13 months ago.

The Alberta government announced the Green Transit Incentives Program (Green TRIP) in early July 2008 as a way to support new public transit alternatives like regional transit service and hybrid buses. Municipalities, non-profit organizations, private sector groups and regional entities were told they could qualify.

Complete information on funding criteria was to be announced in the fall of 2008.

Alberta Transportation Minister Luke Ouellette said then that he hoped that money would be passed out by the end of 2008.

Department spokesman Trent Bancarz said the green program hasn’t rolled out yet because the province is “still working on a lot of the criteria” for it.

“We’re planning on more consultation with municipalities,” Bancarz said. “In terms of project approvals, this won’t happen until at least next year.”

ReThink Red Deer, a group of about 250 members interested in smart urban planning, including transportation alternatives, hailed Green TRIP when the announcement was made.

“We’d really like to see it moving a lot faster,” said group co-founder Lorne Daniel on Tuesday. “I think the whole car-based society we have created needs to be re-thought.”

Particularly during these recessionary times, a lot of people are thinking about alternatives to having several vehicles in their household, Daniel added.

It’s important to see actual government investments in green transportation, he said.

“And not just small amounts of money when the economy is booming. We need firm commitment in those areas.”

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