The budget allocates $C 3.4bn ($US 2.6bn) in federal funding over the next three years to "upgrade and improve public transit systems across Canada" in a bid to satisfy the need for "immediate investment" in public transport.

To get projects moving quickly, the government says it will meet up to 50% of eligible costs, with funding allocated to municipalities based on the provincial share of national transit ridership. This means Ontario, which has 44% of ridership, will be eligible for up to $C 1.48bn from a new Public Transit Infrastructure Fund, while Quebec would receive up to $C 924m and British Columbia up to $C 460m.

The government says the funding could be used for infrastructure upgrades on the Montreal metro; new metro trains and trams for Toronto Transit Commission; and accelerating design and implementation of major projects, including new light rail lines in Greater Vancouver and Ottawa.

Via Rail

The 2016 budget allocates little in the way of additional funds for beleaguered national passenger operator Via Rail, although the government says it will provide $C 3.3m over three years for "in-depth assessment" of Via Rail's $C 3bn proposal for high-frequency services on the Toronto - Ottawa - Montreal corridor; $C 7.7m in the current financial year to fund "pre-procurement activities" for new rolling stock, level crossing safety enhancements, and station security; and $C 34m to modernise stations and maintenance facilities.