VIEWS: 7 PAGES: 2 POSTED ON: 2/27/2010
Return Address Date Name of MLA Legislature Office 10800 - 97 Avenue Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2B6 Dear MLA: Subject: Affordable transportation for all low income Albertans Give a brief introduction explaining your interest I am writing to request your support for affordable transportation for people living on low incomes in Alberta. Rising utilities, housing, and other costs are making it increasingly difficult for people living on limited incomes to afford the basic necessities of life, including public transportation. In some cases, people have to choose between buying a transit pass and buying food. Affordable transportation is essential to people who are unemployed, homeless, the working poor, single mothers and individuals on disability and social assistance programs. These programs will assist them in accessing employment, community services, businesses, shopping, medical appointments, places of worship, recreation activities and to simply enjoy the many great opportunities our cities and towns have to offer. The Government of Alberta's website states that, "nearly 400,000 jobs will be created in Alberta over the next 10 years, but only 300,000 new workers are expected to enter the labour market. This means the province may face a shortfall that may be as high as 100,000 workers." Low-income earners often find it difficult to afford a monthly transit pass and this becomes a significant barrier to employment. Removing this financial barrier will benefit not only the low-income earner and their family, but also small business owners and other employers by increasing their labour pool and reducing staff turnover. This in turn has the potential to reduce the number of people on the Alberta Works program. While I recognize that the Government of Alberta already provides supports – including assistance for transportation, to some Albertans who are on AISH, Alberta Works and other income support programs, community members report that many people have difficulty accessing these supplemental benefits and find the amounts to be insufficient to cover the high costs of transportation. In addition, the vast majority of low income Albertans are not on one of these programs and therefore have no access to these benefits. In Calgary, less than 15% of low income residents receive AISH or Alberta Works benefits. Moreover, many low income Albertans live in rural areas where municipalities cannot afford to develop affordable transportation services suited to their communities, such as providing on-call shuttle service or subsidizing taxi fares. As affordable transportation for low income Albertans is an income support issue, I am requesting the Government of Alberta partner with municipalities by providing conditional grants for affordable public transportation throughout our province. An allocation of $2.25 per capita province-wide would allow rural and urban municipalities to develop programs suited to their differing needs. The positive impact this would have on poverty reduction and economic growth far outweighs the investment. Thank you for making Alberta accessible for all people. I look forward to your reply. Sincerely, Cc. Vibrant Communities Calgary Fair Fares 1227 Kensington Close NW Calgary, AB T2N 3J6 email@example.com Phone: 403-283-2122 Fax: 403-283-2105
"Public transit is the primary means of transportation for many low "