The Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) welcomes today’s announcement by the Canada Infrastructure Bank establishing its important role in achieving Canada’s zero-emissions bus (ZEB) targets and affirming the importance of leveraging public-private partnerships to do so.
CUTRIC and its industry and transit members, including some of the largest systems in the country and the most innovative transit systems in Canada, look forward to working with the Bank to develop and strengthen private sector investment in projects to ensure we will reach Canada’s environmental goals, while growing our economy when it needs it most.
Transit innovation — especially green transit innovation — requires financial innovation. Going green with battery and hydrogen fuel cell electrification technologies for transit buses and garages, and implementing city-wide battery charging or hydrogen fuelling infrastructure, is complicated and costly upfront but ultimately saves taxpayers money. It will certainly save Canadian transit systems hundreds of millions of dollars in operating costs over the 12 to 18 year life-cycles of their vehicles and allied infrastructure.
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Transit systems need to be able to finance the greenification of their systems now, and pay off those costs using the savings they generate operationally over traditional diesel deployments because of the cheapness of electrified propulsion fuels. And they need to be able to integrate other revenue-generating innovations, like renting out use of their charging or fuelling infrastructure to local private delivery fleets on a fee-for-use basis which can also help to pay off financing costs over the long-term.
Opportunities for innovation in Canadian transit abound. With Canada’s small taxpayer base, new ways to finance going green need to be found. And using private sector partnerships where appropriate will help to deliver on initiatives that may not move forward otherwise due to high upfront capital costs or technological complexities that transit systems, cities and regions cannot afford to pay for on their own all at once.
The CIB’s announcement will accelerate the electrification of public transit nation-wide, which is a main tenet of CUTRIC’s mission and follows our advocacy on this issue across municipal, provincial and federal jurisdictions in Canada. And it aligns with CUTRIC’s national Five-Point Plan for Building Back Better Transit post-pandemic.
Accelerating the adoption of zero-emissions buses (ZEB) over the next three years by investing $1.5B can help transform our communities while lowering emissions through smart low carbon public transit systems. Ensuring that these funds are available to reduce capital costs for both ZEBs and charging infrastructure will rapidly scale procurement and systems transitions. This announcement is an important signal to the entire ZEB supply chain from advanced manufacturing to transit agencies that Canada is committed to deliver its commitment to clean growth and more sustainable public transit for Canadians.
To achieve the federal government’s goal of 5000 zero-emissions buses (ZEB) by 2025, the public and private sectors must work together to deliver clean public transit systems that Canada needs. This announcement is an important first step to electrifying Canada’s public transit systems, which is a critical component of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, generating job creation and economic growth in the clean technology sector, and improving transit outcomes in communities across the country.
We encourage the federal and provincial governments to build on this important first step with greater investments in innovative clean public transit. We look forward to working with the Bank, the Government of Canada, and our industry and government partners to meet and exceed national targets for zero-emissions buses and other forms of innovative, clean public transit.
The Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC)
The Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) is a socially responsible non-profit organization that spearheads, designs, and launches technology and commercialization projects that advance next-generation zero-carbon mobility and transportation solutions across Canada. It also develops low-cost simulation tools that help transit agencies across Canada and the United States predict how their electric buses, hydrogen fuel cell electric buses and autonomous smart vehicles (for first kilometre/last kilometre solutions) will operate in real-time on roads and in service.
These advancements help to grow the low-carbon and smart technology eco-system across Canada and North America, leading to job growth and economic development over the long-term. CUTRIC’s work generates solutions that decrease fuel consumption, reduce emissions, reduce congestion, and improve the quality of life for mobility customers and transit riders.
In sum, CUTRIC supports the development and commercialization technologies required for a 21st century low-carbon green economy.