Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker and Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson have announced the Ontario government is providing a total of $1,086,837 to support the expansion and improvement of public transit services in multiple local municipalities.
The funding is part of the province’s Gas Tax program which will allocate $375.6 million this year to 107 municipalities that deliver public transit.
The Town of Hanover (the lead municipality for Saugeen Mobility and Regional Transit, which serves Arran-Elderslie, Brockton, Chatsworth, Hanover, Huron-Kinloss, Kincardine, Saugeen Shores, Southgate and West Grey) is receiving $769,398, the Municipality of Meaford will receive $65,797 and the City of Owen Sound is receiving $251,642.
“Our government knows that supporting public transit systems is more important than ever as communities struggle to maintain service levels during COVID-19,” said Walker. “This funding is a huge boost for our local communities and their critical transit services and infrastructure.”
Funding for the Gas Tax program is determined by the number of litres of gasoline sold in the province during the previous year. Municipalities that support public transit services in their community receive two cents per litre of provincial Gas Tax revenue, which can be used to extend service hours, buy transit vehicles, add routes, improve accessibility or upgrade infrastructure.
“The Saugeen Mobility and Regional Transit is an extremely important service for many residents across Bruce and Grey Counties,” said Thompson. “The Gas Tax program, along with the provincial bump up will help ensure that service continues through these challenging times.”
To make up for reduced gas sales due to COVID-19, this year’s Gas Tax funding includes one-time additional funding of $120.4 million to ensure municipalities can support their transit systems.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen how critical public transit is for frontline workers and for Ontarians who depend on these services to get to medical appointments, the grocery store and other important locations,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “Gas Tax funding remains a vital source of long-term transit funding that municipalities can rely on to help operate and expand existing public transit services – ensuring people have access to safe and reliable transportation when they need it.”
The 107 municipalities receiving funding through the Gas Tax program deliver public transit service to 142 communities representing more than 92 per cent of Ontario’s total population.
The provincial and federal governments are providing up to $2.15 billion to support municipal transit systems across the province in response to COVID-19 through the Safe Restart Agreement.
Ontario is developing regional plans that will help build a better transportation system across the province. The province has released draft regional transportation plans for Northern Ontario and southwestern Ontario, and planning is underway for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and eastern Ontario.