TORONTO — The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant financial impacts on transit systems and the Ontario government is providing $150 million to help municipalities continue to deliver transit services across the province. This is in addition to the $2 billion previously committed by the provincial and federal governments through the Safe Restart Agreement.
With the additional $150 million, there is a total of $650 million in funding still available to municipalities up to Dec. 31, 2021, indicates a release, adding extensions to December 2022 will be granted on a case-by-case basis. Ontario is also calling on the federal government to match the additional funding.
The province is allowing municipalities to use Safe Restart Agreement funding towards new initiatives to make it easier and more affordable to travel between different transit systems, such as adding capacity for on-demand microtransit and increasing fare and service integration across the region, adds the release.
“We heard from municipalities and we are responding to their need for more support as COVID-19 continues to result in lost revenue and additional costs for transit systems,” said Caroline Mulroney, minister of transportation, in a statement. “Transit operators have done an incredible job keeping transit operating during this challenging time, and this support will help ensure there is reliable transportation for people to get to work or pick up essential items.”