This year, communities throughout British Columbia will get new opportunities to make local transportation safer, greener and more affordable, thanks to enhancements made to the Province’s BikeBC and B.C. Air Access programs.

“BikeBC and B.C. Air Access are two very popular provincial programs with great potential for growth,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “We saw an opportunity to do more with them. Our government is serious about confronting the realities of climate change and greening our transportation systems, and the updates we’ve made to these programs are a step in the right direction.”

Following a round of stakeholder consultation that included a survey issued to local governments, First Nations and airport authorities, the Province has enhanced the scope and guidelines for both programs. These improvements will better support rural communities and environmental initiatives, and will offer more flexibility for communities looking to improve their cycling and airport infrastructure.

Now, communities with a population of less than 15,000 will be able to participate in BikeBC more easily, with up to 75% of their costs covered by the program. Communities with more than 15,000 people are eligible for 50% of costs covered.

Additionally, BikeBC criteria will now include wayfinding signs, repair stations, bike racks and lockers, and upgrades to existing infrastructure – program enhancements that prioritize safety for cyclists.

“BikeBC funding is a key reason why B.C. is a North American leader, with 40% of British Columbians riding a bike at least once a year,” said Richard Campbell, executive director of the British Columbia Cycling Coalition. “Our research shows that 2.3 million people say they would ride even more if there were separate bike lanes to protect them from traffic. The enhancements to the program will help make cycling safer, communities greener and will help B.C. realize its potential when it comes to cycling tourism and the economic benefits that come with it.”

Similarly, in an effort to green airport operations and cut emissions, B.C. Air Access now prioritizes support for environmentally conscious projects, in addition to offering more funding and application flexibility to make it easier for communities to get involved.

“Our airports are critical socio-economic drivers for the communities they serve, and the B.C. Air Access Program offers vital support to these often heavily used facilities,” said Heather Bell, chair of the B.C. Aviation Council. “The program provides a welcome funding relief to airports around the province, and new criteria will make further environmental improvements that will benefit the communities, staff and travellers who use them.”

The Province has been accepting BikeBC and B.C. Air Access applications since mid-December 2017, and will continue doing so until the Feb. 9, 2018 deadline.