McGuinty Government Pumps Gas Tax Into Public Transit
Investment Helps Strengthen Economy, Improve Quality of Life
MISSISSAUGA -- The McGuinty government is delivering today on its commitment to share the provincial gas tax with municipalities, to increase ridership, improve service and expand routes in public transit systems across the province.
"Better public transit helps build stronger cities and stronger communities," said Premier Dalton McGuinty. "Our plan is about strengthening Ontario's greatest competitive advantage: our people. Better transit helps our people by improving our health, our environment and our economy. It improves our quality of life."
Over the next three years, more than $680 million of the provincial gas tax will be invested in 78 transit systems, serving 105 municipalities across Ontario. Beginning this month, municipalities will start receiving one cent a litre of the gas tax, growing to one-and-a-half cents next October and two cents in October 2006.
This new funding is above and beyond the government's existing commitments to strengthen Ontario's public transit. Over the next five years, the government will invest more than $1 billion of gas tax funding on public transit.
"Public transit was neglected for years. We're changing that," said Transportation Minister Harinder Takhar. "Investing in transit creates jobs, shortens commute times and helps reduce gridlock."
"Public transit is a vital part of keeping our province competitive and our economy strong. Good transit translates into more jobs," said Minister of Finance Greg Sorbara. "It boosts business sales and cuts down on congestion."
"All of Ontario's transit systems and riders will benefit from this approach," said Minister of Municipal Affairs John Gerretsen. "Municipalities will have the long-term funding they need to expand transit and keep up with growth and ridership demands."
The Premier said the government is committed to working with municipalities to improve their public transit systems and strengthen their communities. This new investment offers municipalities a stable source of funding, and flexibility to decide how to best use their share of the funds in meeting the objective to increase ridership.
The government's funding formula for the amount each municipality receives is based on 70 per cent ridership and 30 per cent population. This helps balance the needs of large municipalities with established transit systems and smaller municipalities with newer systems.
"Together we can build an Ontario with one of the best public transit systems in the world -- the system our people want and deserve -- and an Ontario with a quality of life that is second to none," said Premier McGuinty.