TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 1, 2014) - The transit industry applauds Minister Charles Sousa in the presentation of Ontario's 2014 budget today, confirming major new dedicated funding for public transit across Ontario. Totalling $29 billion over ten years, and divided almost equally between the GTHA and other parts of the province, the new measures serve as powerful tools to support the key role public transit plays in moving people efficiently in our communities and improving their quality of life.
"This budget confirms the Ontario government's visionary leadership, commitment to public transit and better mobility for Ontarians in the future," said Norm Cheesman, CEO of the Ontario Public Transit Association (OPTA).
"For too long, the province has faced uncertainty about its transportation infrastructure. The creation of dedicated funds for transit and transportation - and providing them with guaranteed revenue sources - shows vision and determination to make a difference," added Michael Roschlau, President & CEO of the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA).
Increasing funding for public transit represents a smart and long-term investment. In addition to reducing traffic congestion, improving productivity and reducing GHG emissions, each dollar invested in public transit generates three dollars in economic spin-off. In a pre-budget submission, OPTA and CUTA recommended the government adopt new funding measures that are sustainable, predictable, dedicated and available to all Ontario municipalities.
"This is what we need to address today's challenges of steady urban and suburban growth, the aging of the population, challenges affecting the economy and our environment. All orders of government need to come together to make investments that produce real and long-term benefits for future generations," stressed Roschlau.
The budget is clear about using proceeds from the new funds exclusively for public transit priorities in the GTHA and to employ an evidence-based process to identify priority projects outside the GTHA. OPTA and CUTA support this approach, especially as it applies to local and regional transit and partnering with the federal government through the Building Canada Plan.
"The 2014 Ontario budget is a bold step in the right direction. OPTA and CUTA are committed to working with the government and all stakeholders to ensure Ontarians benefit from high quality transit services," concluded Cheesman.
OPTA is the provincial association whose members represent public transit systems, health and social service agency transportation providers, suppliers to the industry, and government representatives. For addition information, visit www.ontariopublictransit.ca.
CUTA is the national association representing public transit systems, suppliers to the industry, government agencies, individuals and related organizations in Canada. For more information about the organization, visit www.cutaactu.ca.