Area communities receive funding for paratransit services

The Saskatchewan Legislature. -- Herald File Photo

On July 23 Government Relations Minister Don McMorris announced over $3.7 million in funding for the Transit Assistance for People with Disabilities program (TAPD). 

TAPD is an annual provincial grant program available to Saskatchewan municipalities who offer paratransit services.

“This investment reinforces our commitment to building a more inclusive and accessible Saskatchewan,” McMorris said in a release.

“Our government is proud of this investment to support municipalities in providing services to people with disabilities and reducing barriers to employment.”

Paratransit is critical for people with disabilities as passengers use the service to travel to school, work, medical appointments and other daily activities.

In total, 69 municipalities – 14 cities and 55 towns – across the province will receive funds through TAPD in the 2021-22 fiscal year.  Through the program, funds are provided for operating assistance grants, such as transportation costs and vehicle maintenance, and capital assistance grants used for the purchase of replacement vehicles. 

Funding for operational assistance grants is calculated using the population category of each municipality as well as the number of paratransit trips provided by the municipality in the previous calendar year.

Funding for capital assistance grants is provided for 75 per cent of the cost of a vehicle to a maximum of $55,000 per vehicle.  The municipality is responsible for covering 25 per cent of the cost. 

Prince Albert received both an operational assistance grant of $157,914 and a funding for capital assistance grant of $55,000.

Many communities in the region also received just operational assistance grants. These included Melfort who received $30,301, Nipawin who received $3,432 and Tisdale who received $689.

Smaller communities receiving operational assistance grants included Big River who received $1,423, Birch Hills who received $154 and Shellbrook who received $1,356.