Ottawa and the province are on board with Mayor Stephen Mandel’s push to improve the city’s transit services.

All three levels of government will contribute $100 million each for the $300-million in transit projects that the city has identified as top priorities for Edmonton.

“You have to find a way to make these things happen and it was done fairly quickly,” said Mandel, who told reporters getting fast track funding from both governments was difficult in the past.

“I am glad we were able to set up some kind of agreement … This is really good for the city.”

Those priorities include adding station upgrades that will lengthen platforms along the city’s south LRT line, adding three new park and ride centres and extending the city’s north line from Clareview to Gorman Towne Centre.

Mandel said the projects would enhance transit services and it would make the city’s roadways a little easier for motorists to navigate during rush hour.

“This will be a transit system that will work for everybody,” said Mandel during the announcement.

Ottawa is kicking in the money from its $12 billion economic action plan to build new infrastructure across the country over the next two years, and the timing for transit upgrades in Edmonton is perfect, said federal Infrastructure Minister Rona Ambrose.

“This is a great opportunity to invest right now because we now have some lower costs on the labour side and construction side,” said Ambrose.

“(In a recession), it’s a win-win situation to put people back to work.”

Premier Ed Stelmach said the investment would help support 80,000 jobs in Alberta’s economy that has been slowly heading to a halt because of the global recession.

“When the economy recovers, we know we are going to need that infrastructure,” said Stelmach.
“We’re going to need the roads, we are going to need the LRT and we’re going to need the public facilities. Now is the time to get value for the dollar.”

Some of the work is expected to start as soon as this summer.