VANCOUVER -- The federal government has announced its providing $540 million in funding to help keep transit operating in B.C. cities throughout the pandemic.

The funds are being supplied through Ottawa's recently announced "Safe Restart" plan, and will be matched by another $540 million from the provincial government, federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said Thursday.

"This will allow communities across the province to continue to provide vital transit service to get front-line and essential workers to their jobs, or people to the grocery store, in a safe and efficient way," Wilkinson said from the SeaBus terminal in his North Vancouver riding.

The Safe Restart plan unveiled last week includes $19 billion in spending intended to help the provinces and territories rebound from the coronavirus crisis.

Apart from transportation funding, some of the money will be going toward stockpiles of personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing capabilities, the government said.

"These investments will help communities build back from this pandemic," Wilkinson said. "Certainly, transit is one key element of getting folks around and getting them back to work."

Thursday's announcement comes one day after B.C. revealed it was earmarking $1 billion to meet the cost-sharing criteria for Safe Restart funding.

In a statement, B.C. Finance Minister Carole James said the province expects funding to support "efforts in health care, child care and support for vulnerable populations," as well as the national sick leave program for workers without sick pay.