Durham Region to receive $9.35 million for transit through provincial gas tax program

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Published February 23, 2023 at 4:55 pm

The Ontario government is providing more than $379.5 million to help 144 communities operate and improve local transit, including more than $9 million for Durham Region.

The funding is being delivered through the gas tax program and can be used to extend service hours, buy transit vehicles, add routes, improve accessibility or upgrade infrastructure.

While lower-tier municipalities receive most of the funding, the cash for Durham and York flows through the upper-tier levels of government as the transit systems are operated region-wide.

“Public transit is a key driver of economic growth in Ontario, helping people get to where they need to go, whether it is to work, school, or run errands,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “As more people return to public transit, our government is providing municipalities with the funding they need to accommodate growing ridership, while ensuring they can continue to deliver safe and reliable transit service for people in their communities.”

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 collected.

Durham Region’s grant under the program this year is $9,348,843.

“Durham Region is grateful to the province for continuing to top up the Gas Tax fund during the pandemic,” said Durham Chair John Henry. “These funds allowed municipalities to rely on a consistent level of funding, to help mitigate impacts to service levels. The $9.35 million in Gas Tax funding will support Durham Region Transit in 2023, helping to enhance services and advance the transition to zero emission buses.”

To make up for reduced gas sales due to ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s gas tax program includes one-time additional funding of $80 million to help ensure municipalities can continue to support their transit systems.

The provincial and federal governments are providing up to $2.65 billion combined through the Safe Restart Agreement to support municipal transit systems in response to COVID-19.

“Once again through the gas tax program the government has demonstrated its support for public transit,” said Kelly Paleczny, Chair of the Ontario Public Transit Association. “We are very thankful for the funding that will help local transit systems continue to operate and provide high levels of service to the more than one million Ontarians who rely on transit every day.”

Ontario Finance Minister and Pickering-Uxbridge MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy said the investment will support the expansion andimprovement of transit services. “This investment will help to reduce congestion, improve air quality, and provide more reliable and efficient transit options for the people of Durham.”

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown is happy to see the Ford government “keeping their promise to support public transit,” while York Region Chair Wayne Emmerson said the funding will provide “enormous benefits” to communities in his region.

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