LONDON, ONT. -- Funding for 11 projects that will modernize and improve transit around Southwestern Ontario was announced Wednesday morning during a virtual announcement hosted by St. Thomas Mayor Joe Preston.

“In St. Thomas a new fleet of 14 zero-emission buses, along with new software systems and upgraded passenger amenities will offer public transit users an improved ridership experience and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine Mckenna announced.

The regional investment totals $6.7 million through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream (PTIS) of the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan.

Ontario committed $5.6 million to the proposed improvements while the municipalities will pay $3.9 million in total.

"The contribution from the federal and provincial governments will help us implement some upgrades that we have been planning for our transit system,” Preston said.

“The main components of the plan include increased service to 15-minute buses on Talbot Street, route revisions to cover highest density transit use, earlier and later hour service on weekdays, added Sunday service, updated hub and branding, new fleet and a new fare system."

Chatham-Kent, Hanover, LaSalle, Leamington, Point Edward, West Elgin and Woodstock will also receive funding for new projects, which will pay for new buses and improvements to transit infrastructure.

“By helping us purchase vehicles, rehabilitate our shelters and upgrade our technology, Infrastructure Canada is an important partner in providing this vital service to our residents. We are extremely grateful for the support and partnership," says Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff.

There is no timetable for when the buses will hit the road, but Preston says work will begin Thursday.

“It may take some time to procure all of the stuff we need to do. At some point during the procurement process, we’ve already planned out what the system itself will look like. We can now move forward with our route changes and some other things as we go forward.”

Preston also says service on Sundays is part of this announcement, as well as extended service in the evening.