Sign: Open Letter for Emergency & Permanent Transit Funding
Add your organization's name below to sign the open letter.

May 12, 2020
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
Hon. Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport
Hon. Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance

Subject: Groups From Sectors Across Canada Come Together To Ask For Emergency and Permanent Transit Operating Funding

Public transit remains a lifeline for many Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic and will be essential to the country’s economic recovery. Essential service workers continue to rely on public transit to get to work, while others depend on transit to access basic needs such as medical care and food. Nevertheless, as the majority of Canadians are confined at home and ridership has declined by up to 90% for some, transit agencies can no longer rely on fare revenues to maintain operations and cover expenses. If we continue upon this road, public transit services will be in a dire state and incapable of maintaining an adequate level of service to be able to offer its riders the basic right to move.

The Federal Government: A Critical Actor in Public Transit Recovery

This uncertain period requires innovative solutions. This is why we, the signatories below, have joined our voices to demand that the federal government review its role in the funding and the maintaining of operational costs for public transit systems across Canada.

Two essential actions are needed for public transit to survive past this crisis:
1. We join our voices with many groups such as the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA), the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Amalgamated Transit Union Canada (ATU) in calling for emergency funding to keep Canadian transit systems running during the pandemic, along with bridge funding.

2. We urge the government to continue funding public transit beyond the pandemic. In reference to Minister McKenna’s mandate letter, the federal government must act on their promise of funding public transit permanently. This must be implemented as soon as possible because capital funding alone cannot keep transit affordable or functioning in the long term. Stable federal operating funding is needed for local transit agencies to improve service and cap fares to boost ridership after the pandemic.

Public Transit: Crucial For Our Communities Across Canada

Maintaining transit service has never been more important. Emergency federal funding is needed to ensure that transit agencies can maintain an adequate level of service during the pandemic for transit workers and riders to practice physical distancing.

Transit agencies need financial assistance in their operations costs in order to respect provincial public health guidelines. As such, they need to be supported in the purchase of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies, in providing paid sick days for employees, and halting fare collection as long as necessary.

We must reevaluate how we see public transit and remember the vital role it plays in keeping essential services afloat. Transit is an essential component of a green economic recovery. We must equip ourselves with the necessary tools to face the climate crisis that is still ahead of us.
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