2017 Federal Budget Analysis
In its second budget since forming government, the federal Liberals continued with the vision they set for the country in the 2015 election. This meant firming up previous commitments for infrastructure, innovation and social priorities, like social housing, skills training and child care. New spending was modest, however, and many spending commitments were planned to hold-off on funding for a few years down the road.
For the transit industry, however, the 2017 federal budget was ground-breaking in a number of ways. Firstly, the government followed through on it’s $20.1 billion commitment to transit infrastructure, along with an additional $5 billion ear marked to fund transit projects through a new Canada Infrastructure Bank.
The budget also eliminated the long-standing Public Transit Tax Credit, which provided financial relief through a 15% tax credit to 1.8M regular public transit customers.
Tucked away in the budget were a number of programs that will affect the transit industry, this includes funding for transit innovation through a ‘super clusters’ program and the creation of a Smart Cities Challenge that will spur collaboration to support, among other things, smart mobility in the context of smart cities. Transit may also be eligible for funding for climate resiliency, transportation and accessibility infrastructure, which will be determined in the coming weeks as program details take shape. The budget also announced that ride-sharing companies, such as Uber, will have to charge GST for their services.
All these changes, both big and small, will affect the transit industry. The Canadian Urban Transit Association will continue to engage with our members, the government and stakeholders across Canada to ensure that the industry’s complex needs, challenges and opportunities are studied, communicated and understood from Parliament Hill to the grassroots of Canadian communities.