TORONTO, ONTARIO – Carlos Santos, President of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, which represents close to 12,000 Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) workers, released the following statement in response to the Ontario government unveiling its 2021 budget today.
“Toronto’s transit workers repeat their call for the Ontario government to provide the TTC with permanent operational funding following today’s 2021 Ontario Budget, which did not provide stable funding for the operations of existing municipal public transit systems.
Public transit workers appreciate the $150 million funding included in the budget to help transit systems address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was previously announced on March 1. We also appreciate the $1 billion in additional provincial COVID-19 relief funding to municipal partners across Ontario. However, this funding doesn’t go far enough – Ontarians need the Ford government to provide stable funding for operations to drive economic growth as our city recovers from the pandemic.
Over the next 20 years, Toronto’s population is projected to grow by 960,000 people yet the TTC is still the worst funded transit system in North America. With the second largest ridership level in North America, it is the least government-subsidized system per rider in North America. If the government refuses to provide permanent funding, a future crisis will force service cuts and leave essential, low-income workers and others who depend on transit with no reliable transportation options.
The Ontario budget states that the “province’s [economic] recovery will be driven by sustained economic growth.” Transit will kickstart economic growth and be the backbone of Toronto and thus Ontario’s recovery. To fully recover and put the pandemic behind us, Toronto needs all level of governments to work together and develop a sustainable longer-term funding model for TTC operating costs.”