Rural Transit Solutions Fund: Program details

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What types of projects can receive funding under Rural Transit Solutions Fund?

Eligible applicants can apply to the Rural Transit Solutions Fund for a planning and design grant and for a capital project.  

Planning and Design Projects

Planning and design grants support transit planning activities and the development of new solutions that will support activities such as: public engagement, needs assessments, feasibility or viability studies, surveys and assessments of routes or modes of travel.

These planning and design projects are important to support communities developing projects that could be considered in future intake processes. In future years, INFC intends to expand its capital projects intake to allow pilot projects to implement new rural transit solutions.

Eligible applicants (see eligible applicants below) can seek federal support in the form of a grant, of up to $50,000.

Capital Projects

Capital projects can cover a broad range of activities related to the implementation of a project that supports the delivery of rural transit solutions. Proposed solutions could include a range of modes of eligible transport, including traditional solutions such as fixed-route buses, as well as non-traditional solutions such as ride-share and on-demand services requiring the purchase of minivans, small craft, and zero-emission fleets, shared fleets, the construction of intermodal hubs, the installation of charging stations or the purchase of software.

Once launched,  eligible applicants will be able to submit applications for up to $3 million in federal funding to help cover capital costs (e.g. purchase of a vehicle or digital platforms) and up to $5 million in federal funding to support zero-emission transit solutions (e.g. for the purchase of a zero-emission vehicle) for projects that will be complete by March 31, 2023.

Proposed solutions that rely on air travel as a means of serving the community are not eligible under the Rural Transit Solutions Fund.

Maximum funding allocations for capital projects will be as follows*:

Eligible organization

Maximum Program contribution (% of capital expenses)

Maximum Federal Contribution from all sources (% of capital expenses)

Total Canadian (i.e., federal provincial, territorial, and municipal) Government stacking

Applicant is located in a province or is a not-for-profit organization

80%

80%

100%

Applicant is located in a territory and/or an Indigenous recipient

100%

100%

100%

Provincial government

40%

40%

100%

Territorial government

75%

75%

100%

*Note: It should be noted that discussions are ongoing between the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec regarding the implementation of this program in Quebec, in accordance with the Quebec legislative framework.

Who can apply?

The following groups are eligible to apply to the Rural Transit Solutions Fund:

  • Municipalities, local and regional governments established under provincial or territorial statute, including local service districts
  • Provinces and territories (only for capital projects – not planning grants )
  • Public sector bodies that are established by or under provincial or territorial statute, or by regulation, or are wholly-owned by a province, territory, municipal or regional government
  • Indigenous governing bodies
  • Federally or provincially incorporated not-for-profit organizations whose mandate is to improve Indigenous outcomes, organizations serving Indigenous communities living in urban centers and First Nations living off-reserve
  • Indigenous development corporations
  • Not-for-profit organizations when submitting an application on behalf of any primary eligible recipient. (Eligible recipients are listed as 1-6 above)

Individuals, private citizens, private companies, and federal entities, including federal Crown corporations cannot apply.

An eligible organization can work with a private sector service provider to facilitate implementation of a rural transit solution. For such projects, the ownership of the infrastructure or rolling stock must remain with the eligible organization.

Note: It should be noted that discussions are ongoing between the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec regarding the implementation of this program in Quebec, in accordance with the Quebec legislative framework.

How are projects assessed?

The Rural Transit Solutions Fund is a national, competitive, and merit-based program.

Applicants need to provide sufficient information for officials to review the proposal. It is also important that applicants explain how proposed planning activities meet the criteria. All eligible projects will be evaluated against the following merit criteria:

Planning Projects (please consult the guidelines for more information)

Merit Criteria

Approach to Criteria Assessment

Need

Applicants must provide:

  • Demographics of the community.
  • The current state of transit programming in the community.
  • How the proposed planning project will identify community populations who will benefit from improved transit solutions.

Scope

Applicants must explain:

  • How the planning project will contribute to developing a proposal that could be integrated into the future development of the community or region.
  • How the planning project will support the development and implementation of a future project in the community.

Viability

Applicants must explain:

  • How the planning outcomes will be communicated to community members support the development of a project proposal that has community support.
  • The expected time frame of the planning process.

 

Capital Projects

Merit Criteria

Approach to Criteria Assessment

Community demand for rural transit solution

Applicants must:

  • Describe the population that is expected to use the service and what transit services are currently available to them, if any. The proposal should provide an understanding of the community/area. When possible, please provide the sources of information (e.g.: city documents, Statistics Canada, public consultations).
  • Describe the vulnerable populations in the community/area and how they currently access transit services, if any.

Inclusiveness benefits to local community

Applicants must:

  • Explain how the rural transit solution will contribute to improve the quality of life and safety of various groups in the community/area and close the socio-economic gaps that currently exist.

Potential for economic impact

Applicants must:

  • Explain how the rural transit solution will contribute to the economy of the community/area, including, for example:  
    • Estimates in their application concerning impacts of the project on the number of jobs, the income of the individuals and other economic benefits.
    • How local businesses and business associations could be engaged and contribute to the success of public transit in your community/area.

Environmental impact

Applicants must describe:

  • The community/area implementation strategies to encourage an increasing number of people to use public transit.
    • When applicable, explain how the project will reduce GHG emissions or how the rural transit solution will integrate clean or zero-emission technologies.

Viability

Applicants must:

  • Describe the objectives and how success will be measured.
  • Explain strategies that could be put in place to support the long-term viability of the project, including potential sources of funds (fares, local and provincial government support, contribution from local businesses, etc.)

Locally driven

Applicants must:

  • Explain how the community is expected to support the rural transit solution. This could include letters of support, participation of local organization in the planning and delivery of the project.
  • Describe the partnership that has been established at various levels, including with neighboring communities, regional government, existing transit organizations, etc.
  • As applicable,  include strategies to maintain and expand local support

Key dates and deadlines

As part of the first call for applications from August 6, 2021 to October 8, 2021, eligible applicants can seek up to $50,000 in support for project planning grants.

Over the coming weeks, eligible applicants will be able to apply for up to $3 million to help cover capital costs (e.g. purchase of a vehicle or digital platforms); and up to $5 million to support zero-emission transit solutions (e.g. for the purchase of a zero-emission vehicle(s)).

Subsequent calls for application will be announced at a later date.