QUÉBEC EXTENDS SUPPORT FOR PUBLIC TRANSIT IN BUDGET 2023
OTTAWA (March 22, 2023) – The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) commends the Government of Québec for prioritizing public transit in budget 2023. Yesterday, the province announced emergency financial assistance of $400 million to Québec’s transit agencies in 2023 to address revenue shortfalls.
Transit agencies face significant challenges as ridership and farebox revenue continue to climb back to pre-pandemic levels. The shortfall for Québec’s transit agencies is estimated at $565 million for 2023. Additional funds will be needed to fully cover the shortfall and reduce the risk of significant service cuts. Echoing the Government of Québec, CUTA continues to call on the federal government to support public transit with emergency operating support for 2023.
“We thank Premier François Legault, as well as Ministers Eric Girard and Geneviève Guilbault for their support of public transit,” said Marco D’Angelo, CUTA’s President and CEO. “This investment will help prevent a downward spiral of infrequent transit service and higher fares, and we are hopeful that other provinces will follow Québec’s example.”
Québec is the third province to announce emergency transit operating support in 2023. Last week, the BC government announced $479 million in operational funding to TransLink, the province’s largest transit system. In late February, the Manitoba government extended unconditional emergency funding to municipalities, with additional emergency funds for Winnipeg Transit.
With the Ontario Budget to be released tomorrow, CUTA continues to urge Premier Doug Ford and Ministers Caroline Mulroney and Peter Bethlenfalvy to take similar action to support public transit in Ontario. According to an internal survey by the Ontario Public Transit Association, the shortfall for Ontario’s transit agencies is estimated at $510 million for 2023.
Without additional support, systems face the likelihood of service cuts and fare hikes in the coming year. This could create a negative feedback loop that would lead to further revenue reductions. When riders have to wait longer or pay more, many find other modes of travel that are more convenient.
Communications and Public Affairs Specialist
Canadian Urban Transit Association