Editor’s note: The Ontario government announced on Friday it would double gas tax transfers to cities, including Ottawa, for transit funding purposes. The move was welcomed by receiving mayors, although the funding increases won’t begin until 2019 – one year after the next provincial election.
(Via Ontario Government)
Ontario is boosting support for nearly 100 cities and towns across the province, providing them with reliable, long-term funding to improve and expand their local transit systems and offer more travel options for commuters and families.
Premier Kathleen Wynne and Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca were at York Region Transit’s Richmond Hill facility today to announce the new investment.
— John Fraser (@JohnFraserOS) January 27, 2017
The province has heard directly from people who are frustrated by their daily commute and from municipalities that are struggling to meet their transit needs. In response to these concerns, starting in 2019, Ontario will be increasing funding for local transit through an enhancement to the existing gas tax program, doubling the municipal share from two cents per litre to four cents by 2021. There will be no increase in the tax that people in Ontario pay on gasoline as a result of the enhancement to the program.
Cities and towns receiving the new funding are able to plan for and make major infrastructure upgrades, buy additional transit vehicles, add more routes, extend hours of service, implement fare strategies and improve accessibility.
Ontario recognizes that commuters need reliable transit options before revenue-generating measures such as road tolls are implemented. For example, the ongoing GO Regional Express Rail project will not be completed and in service before 2024. That is why the province is not supporting plans for municipal road tolls at this time. This new investment, along with Ontario’s $31.5-billion transit and transportation investment across the province, will support more buses in cities like Thunder Bay and Windsor, new LRT lines in Waterloo and Ottawa, and GO Regional Express Rail in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, including SmartTrack in Toronto.
Supporting stronger public transit systems is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
- Funding will increase to 2.5 cents per litre in 2019–20, 3 cents in 2020–21 and 4 cents in 2021–22.
- This year the province committed $334.5 million in gas tax funding to 99 municipalities. This amount is expected to increase to about $401.3 million in 2019–20, $481.5 million in 2020–21 and $642 million in 2021–22.
- Ontario made its gas tax program permanent in 2013 to provide a stable source of funding for municipalities.
- One bus takes up to 40 vehicles off the road and keeps 25 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere each year.
- Research shows that every $100 million of public infrastructure investment in Ontario boosts GDP by $114 million, particularly in the construction and manufacturing sectors.