Advocacy

Advocacy Updates

Federal Fall Economic Update – Historic Investment in Public Transit

The second phase of the federal government’s Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF) is at a very formative stage in its development. The economic fiscal framework, which will see the federal government invest $25.3 billion in public transit over the next 11 years, was released on November 1. Up for debate now are the detailed program parameters that will ultimately be announced early next spring and determine the success of PTIF Phase II. Everything from eligible recipients, project criteria, funding methods, federal government cost share, data collection and desirable program outcomes are all theoretically up for debate while the final version of the budget is put together by the finance department.

So far this is what we know, in his fall economic update, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced an 11-year federal commitment to invest $25.3 billion in public transit infrastructure across Canada, a sum in addition to PTIF Phase I investments.

The update also confirmed that a portion of Phase II will still be fund state of good repair projects, though the overall focus on the fund seems to be more oriented towards expansion of capital projects than it was in PTIF Phase I.

“With this additional funding, Canadian communities will be able to build the new urban transit networks and service extensions that will transform the way that Canadians live, move and work,” reads the economic update.

In addition to its support for dedicated transit investment, the government will also establish a Canada Infrastructure Bank to support the development of big, transformative infrastructure—including transit projects. This bank will focus on attracting large amounts of private capital to invest in Canadian infrastructure projects. Some PTIF Phase II funds will be used to capitalize the new bank’s start up, though it is unclear how much at this time.

“The Canada Infrastructure Bank will be accountable to, and partner with, government, but will operate at greater arm’s length than a department—working with provincial, territorial, municipal, Indigenous and investment partners to transform the way infrastructure is planned, funded and delivered in Canada,” reads the economic update.

In the coming months, the government plans to pursue the successful implementation of Phase 1 investments in support of public transit infrastructure, and will announce further details on the allocations for the new $25.3 billion investment in public transit through Budget 2017.

CUTA will continue to work closely with the government and other stakeholders to ensure that Canadians benefit from innovative transit investment now and in the future. We want to relay our members’ needs, questions and concerns regarding PTIF with the government at this crucial time, if you would like to get in touch with us, please email mackey@cutaactu.ca.