Gas Tax program adds nearly $10 million to transit from Pickering to Clarington

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Published April 24, 2024 at 2:08 pm

Durham Region Transit

The Ontario government is investing $9.6 million in Durham Region Transit this year, with the funds coming from the 2023-24 Gas Tax program.

The funding can be used to expand service hours, increase routes, purchase new vehicles or improve accessibility to increase transit ridership.

Durham Chair John Henry said the funds will be used to “support our vision” for Durham Region Transit (DRT), which has always focused on seamless travel options and a customer-centric approach to operations.

“DRT has a positive impact on people’s lives; driving economic opportunities; and building an even stronger integrated network,” he said. “Today, DRT is experiencing record ridership and taking the necessary steps towards offering a zero-emissions fleet. This provincial funding is an investment in these efforts and a dedication to the future of our growing region.”

The 2023-24 Gas Tax program will help fund public transit in more than 100 municipalities serving across the province, with two cents allocated to the program for every litre of provincial tax revenue collected.

Municipal Gas Tax funding allocations are calculated based on total transit ridership (70 per cent of funding) and population (30 per cent of funding), both of which fluctuate from year to year. Funding is capped at a maximum of 75 per cent of a municipality’s transit spending.

“No matter where you live, Ontarians deserve access to fast, reliable and affordable public transit,” said provincial Transportation Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria. “Our government is helping municipalities improve their transit systems now and for decades to come.”

Ontario Finance Minister and Pickering-Uxbridge MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy said the investment marks a “significant part of our plan” to improve accessibility, reduce congestion, and promote more reliable transportation options.

The Province is investing almost $380 million across Ontario to help more than 100 municipalities improve local transit through the Gas Tax program. This year’s program includes a one-time additional $3 million to ensure municipalities can continue to support and grow their transit systems.

Ajax MPP Patrice Barnes said the increase in allocation this year will help DRT foster a “more connected and inclusive transportation network for all residents.”

Whitby MPP Lorne Coe added that supporting public transit systems like Durham Regional Transit is “more important than ever to ensure that public transit continues to be a reliable and accessible option.”

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