TORONTO, ONTARIO – Carlos Santos, President of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, which represents close to 12,000 TTC workers, released the following statement after the Ontario government unveiled its 2020 budget.
“The 2020 Ontario Budget makes it clear that the provincial government needs to do more to address municipalities’ urgent public transit needs. Toronto’s public transit workers repeat their calls for the Ontario government to provide the City of Toronto and other municipalities with stable funding to keep transit moving during the pandemic in 2021.
Today’s budget refers to transit as a “critical public service” but it announced no new measures to cover the significant budget shortfalls the TTC and other transit systems are facing in the new year.
The budget highlights the previously announced $4 billion partnership with the federal government to assist municipal transit agencies with COVID-19 related financial impacts. It also says this funding under the Safe Restart Agreement (SRA) is a “one-time assistance” to Ontario municipalities and public transit systems.
Toronto’s public transit workers appreciated that first phase of funding through the SRA, but the government appears to think the TTC’s financial troubles of 2020 will disappear in the new year.
We also welcome the $62.7 billion over 10 years earmarked for the construction of new public transit projects. We call on the provincial government to keep transit public with all new construction to avoid the ongoing financial problems that plague the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and Ottawa Confederation Line’s P3 model.
The pandemic has put a spotlight on the TTC’s broken funding model. It’s another reminder that public transit needs more than fare box revenue. As we prepare for a recovery, Toronto needs all level of governments to work together and develop a sustainable longer-term funding model for TTC operating costs.”