Ontario Construction News staff writer
Ontario is sending $375 million to 109 municipalities through the Gas Tax program to help operate and expand public transit. The province will flow the funding “as soon as possible” in 2021.
“Our government is committed to helping municipalities sustain and improve public transit throughout the province,” said Caroline Mulroney, minister of transportation. “Supporting transit systems is more important than ever as municipalities across Ontario struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will help ensure people have access to safe, reliable transportation.”
Funding is determined by the number of litres of gasoline sold in the province during the previous year. Municipalities supporting public transit services in their community receive two cents per litre of provincial gas tax revenue collected. Money can be used to extend service hours, buy transit vehicles, add routes, improve accessibility or upgrade infrastructure.
“Ontario has placed immense value on public transit to help frontline workers get to and from work each day throughout the pandemic,” said Kelly Paleczny, chair of Ontario Public Transit Association and general manager of the London Transit Commission. “This funding is crucial to communities across the province in the fight against COVID-19 and will play an important role in Ontario’s economic recovery.”
The municipalities receiving funding through the Gas Tax program deliver public transit service to 144 communities representing more than 92 per cent of Ontario’s total population.
In July 2020, the province announced up to $2 billion from the provincial and federal governments under the Safe Restart Agreement to support municipal transit systems with operating costs like vehicle maintenance and employee wages, revenue losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and other costs like installing driver protection barriers.