CUTA Urges the Federal Government to Incorporate Recommendations Made by the “Standing Committee on Finance” Regarding Public Transit Support in the 2023 Federal Budget
TORONTO (March 15, 2023) – Last week, the federal “Standing Committee on Finance” (FINA) published its report “RESPONDING TO THE CHALLENGES OF OUR TIME” which contains critical recommendations regarding the need for ongoing public transit support. Transit systems across Canada project significant shortfall in 2023 and face the realities of impending service cuts if operating support is not extended. The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) calls on the Federal government, to extend funds to help recover ridership to support a broader Canadian municipal economic recovery.
Within the report’s recommendations, we are pleased to see three major public transit-oriented requests that would improve the outlook for transit systems and municipalities struggling with increased inflationary pressures and looming budgetary shortfalls. In the report, recommendations #58 through #60 (pg. 11) specifically pertain to public transit (see below).
CUTA has continued advocacy efforts to promote the urgency and prioritization of public transit issues that are facing communities and their transit systems, across the country. CUTA submitted pre-budget recommendations, titled “Supporting public transit”, where we highlight the need for additional federal-level operating support in our submission to the FINA standing committee. Over the last year, CUTA has engaged with committee members to reiterate our policy priorities in our submissions. We would like to thank all parties involved; Committee Chair Peter Fonseca (Liberal), Vice-Chairs Jasraj Singh Hallan (Conservative) and Gabriel Ste-Marie (Bloc Québécois), MP Phillip Lawrence (Conservative), and all the hardworking FINA committee members that consulted with us in the leadup to this publication.
“CUTA is pleased to see that the FINA committee recognizes the needs of our members and the importance of supporting sustainable public transit operations to alleviate the financial pressures that municipalities and transit agencies are currently facing” – Marco D’Angelo, CUTA President, and CEO.
As ridership has steadily increased over the last year, CUTA has proudly championed the need for a permanent Federal stream for operating support that would make long-term operation planning more sustainable and predictable. The recent Statistics Canada report “Urban transit, January 2023” released today shows promising national ridership recovery metrics, that indicate a year-over-year ridership increase of 82.7% when comparing January 2023 to the same time last year. CUTA strongly supports and encourages these recommendations contained in the FINA standing committee’s report, and CUTA hopes to see these recommendations reflected in the upcoming budget expected to be released at the end of March.
Communications and Public Affairs Specialist
Canadian Urban Transit Association