News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

May 30, 2008

PROVINCE KICKS OFF COMMUTER CHALLENGE



Walk, bike or take a bus was the message from Science, Technology, Energy and Mines Minister Jim Rondeau today as he officially launched Commuter Challenge 2008 at the University of Winnipeg.
 
“The basic premise of the Commuter Challenge is to encourage healthier, cleaner commuting practices and reduce the reliance on vehicles for trips to and from the workplace and school,” said Rondeau. “Last year, Winnipeg won the national Commuter Challenge for its population category.”
 
Resource Conservation Manitoba (RCM) and its planning partners are inviting Manitoba businesses and schools to join in a friendly competition to promote clean air commuting.
 
“The Commuter Challenge gets people thinking about their everyday travel choices,” said Kenton Lobe, president of RCM. “Climate-friendly transportation is great for health and fitness, terrific for the environment and kind to your wallet - and that’s a very convenient truth!”
 
“The University of Winnipeg is committed to promoting campus sustainability,” said Mark Burch, the university’s director of campus sustainability. “We will express that commitment through broad participation in the Commuter Challenge. Our goal is to promote sustainable transportation through the development of a integrated transit hub - a full amenity centre serving cyclists, walkers and Winnipeg Transit users.”
 
Participants in the Commuter Challenge will bus, bike, walk, skate, paddle, carpool and telecommute to work or school from June 1 to 7 to emphasize alternative, ecologically healthy means of commuting.
 
During the event, participating individuals will record their modes of transportation for the week.  Each person who participates will be counted as a green commuter.
 
At the end of the week, the city, town or corporation with the highest average percentage of healthier commuters will be declared the most commuter friendly.
 
“This friendly competition is a way of showcasing those commuters who decide to choose sustainable modes of transportation,” said Rondeau. “Choosing to take transit, cycle, walk or carpool from June 1 to 7 and throughout the year is a way of celebrating the link between active living and climate-friendly commuting. Under the province’s climate change plan, seeking out alternative transportation is a key part of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” 
 
In April, Rondeau released Manitoba’s action plan on climate change entitled Beyond Kyoto. The report provides the steps all Manitobans can take to help the province achieve its goal of meeting Kyoto commitments by 2012. The report covers all sectors and focuses on expanding renewable energy, improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions from Manitoba’s transport and agriculture sectors.
 
The plan notes that, since 1999, the province’s annual transit operating grant to Winnipeg increased more than 40 per cent to $22.9 million and $3.7 million has been spent for trails projects across Manitoba. 
 
Rondeau also said the 50-50 transit operating funding formula is going to be put into law to give municipalities assurance for provincial support as they undergo long-term planning.
 
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BACKGROUND INFORMATION ATTACHED


Backgrounder
Commuter Challenge - http://www.gov.mb.ca/asset_library/en/newslinks/2008/2008may/CommuterChallenge.ST.doc