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Rob Altemeyer, MLA Wolseley
June 5, 2008

Commuter Challenge

On May 30, I was very pleased to attend the kickoff of the Commuter Challenge with my honourable friend, the Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mines (Mr. Rondeau). Organized by the local non-profit group, Resource Conservation Manitoba, the basic premise of the Commuter Challenge is to encourage healthier, cleaner, commuting practices by reducing the reliance on vehicles for trips to and from the workplace, and to and from school. Last year Winnipeg won the National Commuter Challenge title for its population category, and we're very hopeful that after a very successful kickoff we will be repeat champions this year.

Climate-friendly transportation is of course great for health and fitness, terrific for the environment and it's also kind to your wallet. The Commuter Challenge gets people thinking about their everyday travel choices. Participants in the Commuter Challenge will bus, bike, walk, skate, paddle, car pool and telecommute to work or school from June 1 to June 7 and, as someone who has just officially registered a couple of days ago, I can advise all honourable members that you can still do so by going to the Commuter Challenge Web site and enter your green-friendly kilometres for this week.

This friendly competition is a way of showcasing those commuters who decide to choose sustainable modes of transportation. My preference is, of course, the bicycle and, as a student and staff member at the University of Manitoba, I have travelled to and from work and school for many, many years and I am very pleased that our government has made some very significant investments to help others travel to and from the university and elsewhere in our city and province using green methods. With our increases to Winnipeg's annual transit operating grant by more that 40 percent, the total is now up to $22.9 million per year. Mr. Speaker, $3.7 million has also been invested for trails projects across Manitoba since 1999.

I would really like to thank the excellent staff and volunteers at Resource Conservation Manitoba for raising all of our awareness levels on this very important opportunity to help green the planet. Thank you so much, Mr. Speaker.