Rural Transit Solutions Fund: Frequently asked questions

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If you have a question that is not answered below, would like to discuss the application process, or wish to learn more about the Rural Transit Solutions Fund, refer to the Contact Us tab for our contact information.

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General

How is the Rural Transit Solutions Fund different from other Government of Canada investments in transportation and transit?

The Rural Transit Solutions Fund is the first federal fund to target the development of transit solutions in rural communities.

Programs such as the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) have tended to prioritize large-scale capital projects and well established solutions, leaving gaps to support the development of new transit models – especially that meet the needs and account for the realities of people living in rural and remote communities.

How are applications assessed? What are the merit criteria?

Applicants need to provide sufficient information in their applications for Infrastructure Canada to review and assess the proposal based on the Fund's merit criteria. The merit criteria are outlined in the applicant guides, which can be found here:

Could I submit an application to receive funding for a project that has already started?

No. Any projects underway, expenditures incurred and contracts signed before receiving federal approval is not eligible for the Rural Transit Solutions Fund funding.

Is there a funding allocation for provinces and territories?

Under the Rural Transit Solutions Fund, Infrastructure Canada will directly fund projects for eligible recipients. Provinces and territories may apply for capital project contributions. They may also partner with other eligible recipients.

What approach will be used to allocate the 10% of funding dedicated to Indigenous Peoples?

The Rural Transit Solutions Fund will dedicate a minimum of 10% of its funding for First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and other non-status or non-affiliated groups and Indigenous organizations.

The allocation will be influenced by the number of applications received, as well as the assessment of the applications based on the established merit criteria.

What is the earliest date I can start my project if it is approved for funding?

A tentative start date and timelines should be identified in your application. Any contracts signed before approval by the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities will not be eligible for a Rural Transit Solutions Fund grant (planning stream) or contribution (capital stream). Federal funding will be provided to the recipient only once a grant agreement (for planning projects) or a contribution agreement (for capital projects) is signed.

Can Rural Transit Solutions Fund support long-distance and inter-regional travel services?

The Rural Transit Solutions Fund is intended to connect communities and support the day-to-day movement of local residents in communities to help them get to work, school, appointments and visit loved ones. It is not designed to support long-distance inter-regional travel routes that connect cities across regions, provinces, and territories.

Planning and Design Stream

Can I still apply to the Planning and Design Stream? If not, will there be another intake?

The application intake for the Planning and Design Projects stream closed on October 7, 2021. The timing of future intakes has not yet been identified.

What is the cost limit of a planning project?

Where there is no limit to the cost of a planning project, the total  planning and design stream grants under the Rural Transit Solution Fund are limited to $50,000. Infrastructure Canada will not provide additional payment for costs overruns. Additionally, funding from all federal sources cannot surpass 100% for projected costs for planning projects.

When can applicants expect to receive their grant?

Applicants will be informed if their projects have been successful and then will need to conclude a grant agreement with Infrastructure Canada. Contracts signed prior to the project approval would not be eligible for funding.

Is project reporting required for an approved project for the Planning and Design Stream?

Yes. The grant agreement provided by Infrastructure Canada will require reporting elements including, but not limited to;

  • Project targeted within the strategy
  • Outreach to vulnerable populations during creation of strategy

Capital Stream

Will operating costs, including those for private bus operators, be considered eligible for funding under the Rural Transit Solutions Fund?

No. Under the Rural Transit Solutions Fund, costs that are related to the ongoing operations, insurance, maintenance and/or electricity and fuel costs associated with the operations of capital assets are ineligible.

What is the cost limit of a capital project?

There is no limit to the cost of a capital project, however, the maximum contribution from the Rural Transit Solutions Fund is limited to $3 million for conventional solutions, or up to $5 million if the project incorporates zero-emission solutions. A contribution agreement will establish the federal contribution for each project as well as the conditions under which federal contribution installment payments will be made. Infrastructure Canada will not provide additional payment for costs overruns.

Does an organization have to apply for the Planning and Design stream to be able to apply for the Capital Project stream?

No. Applicants can apply to either stream – they are not obligated to apply for both. An applicant can still submit a Capital Projects stream application for the Rural Transit Solutions Fund without having submitted a Planning and Design Projects stream application.  

Do vehicles have to be purchased outright or can they be leased?

Under the Rural Transit Solutions Fund, vehicles must be purchased and cannot be leased. The cost of renting or leasing a vehicle is considered an operational expense and is therefore ineligible. 

Can an organization apply for fixed assets like charging stations if they do not apply for a vehicle?

For an asset to be considered an eligible expense, it must be part of a transit system/solution. Applicants must explain how the fixed assets would directly link to the delivery of the proposed transit solution. Purchasing a fixed asset like a charging station would be ineligible as a standalone project.

What will happen if a vehicle is ordered, but it is not received within the two-year timeframe for a Capital Project due to a limited supply available in the market?

Infrastructure Canada understands that there are supply chain issues for vehicles. The Department will work with applicants to find options to how to minimize these impacts.

Is project reporting required for an approved project for the Capital Stream?

Yes. The contribution agreement provided by Infrastructure Canada will require reporting elements including, but not limited to;

  • Project progress (including procurement activities)
  • Confirmation of expected and actual project start/end dates
  • Any changes to the project that would impact project outcomes
  • General description of project's major achievements