The Manitoba Liberal Party is calling on both the Pallister and Trudeau governments to step up to the plate when it comes to funding for rural and northern transportation.
They say that currently there is support from all levels of government for transit in Winnipeg, but that investments must be made in rural and northern transportation so that “Manitobans outside the perimeter can afford to travel”.
Kewatinook MLA Judy Klassen says that even though northern bus companies have started to say they’ll operate in the region, support from all levels of government is needed. She added that if a large company like Greyhound can’t afford to service northern routes, money is needed to make sure the smaller operations can survive.
Liberal leader and recently elected MLA for St. Boniface Dougald Lamont suggests that a portion of the almost $250M in expected revenue from the proposed Manitoba Carbon Tax could be used to provide support for inter-city bus service. He added that those in the Legislature need to govern for everyone, and not just those who live in urban centres.
Lamont went on to say that investment in inter-city bus transportation would eliminate what he calls a double standard that "currently treats northern and rural residents as second-class citizens".
Ron Schuler, the provincial Minister of Infrastructure, has said that the province won’t be providing subsidies and that they won’t “get in the way of business”. When asked about the situation, Prime Minister Trudeau said that he has asked Federal Transportation Minister Marc Garneau to work with the provinces to try and find a solution.
Two companies, including a local Thompson start-up, have said that they will be serving the north when Greyhound shuts down service in October, though there is not currently any information on what operations will look like for either company.