Public transit reps renew call for federal government to move up permanent transit funding
OTTAWA – The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) hosted its annual conference and transit show in Edmonton earlier this week. Representatives from public transit agencies and the businesses that support the industry renewed their call for the federal government to move up the start date of the Permanent Public Transit Fund (PPTF) to 2024.
The planned rollout of the $3 billion annual PPTF in 2026 results in an infrastructure funding gap for public transit projects. CUTA recognizes the importance of a seamless and effective implementation of the PPTF for long-term public transit planning across Canada.
The governments of Canada, Ontario, and the City of Toronto today announced a combined investment of $568M for new street cars for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). CUTA commends the TTC for successfully bringing the Government of Canada and Government of Ontario to the table to fund urgently needed transit infrastructure. Many Canadian cities face similar transit infrastructure pressures, and today’s announcement reinforces the need for transit infrastructure funding in cities across Canada.
The current timing of the PPTF leaves transit agencies facing critical capacity problems and mounting state of good repair backlogs. These challenges must be addressed to accommodate Canada’s substantial projected population increase, and to advance key policy aims such as increased housing supply and reducing emissions.
Based on the government’s immigration target of roughly 500,000 new Canadians each year, by the mid-2040s, Canada will have a population of 45 to 50 million people with transit systems built for 25 million people.
“Communities must be equipped to expand transit networks to meet rising demand and to ensure new housing developments are properly integrated with public transit infrastructure,” said CUTA President Marco D’Angelo. “The alternative is more road congestion, commuter dissatisfaction and higher emissions.”
For example, in Brampton, where ridership has surpassed 2019 levels, the transit system remains strained as the municipality is currently unable procure electric busses or build new facilities. Similar situations are playing out in other fast-growing regions like St. John’s, Halifax, Sherbrooke, and metro Vancouver. Without swift action, fast-growing communities will not have the transit service capacity to support their expanding populations.
Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA)