McGuinty Government Gives Municipal Transit Another Boost



    Sharing Gas Tax Helps Municipalities Deliver Greener Transportation
    Options

    ST. CATHARINES, ON, Dec. 17 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is providing
$314 million in gas tax funding to 108 municipalities to help get more people
out of their cars and onto public transit, Transportation Minister Jim Bradley
announced today.
    "Our government has given municipalities a percentage of gas tax revenues
to improve service and accessibility every year since 2004," said Bradley.
"Over that time, ridership has increased by 68 million passenger trips, and
further increases are forecasted."

    
    Provincial gas tax funding has delivered results for municipalities:

    -   St. Catharines purchased 15 new buses, including seven new fuel
        efficient hybrid diesel-electric buses, making transit a greener
        option for commuters.

    -   Greater Sudbury is improving transit service and customer convenience
        by purchasing six new buses, installing electronic fareboxes, adding
        new routes and more service to Laurentian University. In the coming
        year, real-time route information will help riders plan their trips.

    -   Mississauga added buses and 74,000 new service hours, providing more
        transportation choices for residents.
    

    To date, the McGuinty government has provided over $1 billion in gas tax
funding to municipalities. These crucial investments support sustainable
growth and help build modern infrastructure across the province.
    "Sustained funding is necessary to improving and expanding public transit
systems across the province," said Michael Roschlau, President and CEO of the
Canadian Urban Transit Association. "The provincial gas tax program enables
municipalities to make the sorts of improvements that encourage more transit
ridership and reduces traffic congestion."
    "Transit is the antidote to gridlock," Bradley said. "Sharing a portion
of the provincial gas tax helps municipalities deliver greener, healthier
transportation options to their residents and improves Ontario's economic
competitiveness."

    
    Funding from the gas tax program is in addition to the government's other
commitments to strengthen Ontario's public transit, which include:

    -   MoveOntario 2020, a $17.5-billion public transit investment - the
        largest build of its kind in Canadian history. This 12-year plan will
        help replace 300 million car trips per year

    -   An additional $830 million provided for strategic transit projects in
        the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area through the 2006 MoveOntario
        initiative. This investment will help ease congestion, improve air
        quality and create jobs across the province

    -   Greater Toronto Transportation Authority, operating as Metrolinx -
        created to develop a seamless and sustainable regional transportation
        system for residents and businesses within the Greater Toronto Area
        and Hamilton

    -   The Presto card - an integrated fare collection system that will
        eventually enable commuters to travel on public transit from Durham
        to Hamilton using a single transit card

    -   The High Occupancy Vehicle Lane Network plan - a 25-year project to
        add HOV and commuter bus lanes to the 400-series highways and the
        Greater Golden Horseshoe that will ease congestion and offer faster,
        more reliable commute times to carpoolers and transit users and

    -   ReNew Ontario - the government's infrastructure investment plan. In
        ReNew Ontario's first five years, the government will have invested
        $11.4 billion in public transit, highways, borders and other
        transportation.

    Disponible en français

                              www.mto.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

     BREAKDOWN OF PROVINCIAL GAS TAX FUNDING PER MUNICIPALITY 2007/2008
    

    The McGuinty government has launched the fourth year of its provincial
gas tax program, giving $314 million into public transit from October 2007 to
September 2008. The program provides two cents of the tax revenues from every
litre of gasoline sold in Ontario to municipalities for public transit.
    The province has developed an equitable system to distribute gas tax
funding. This funding formula meets the needs of large municipalities with
established transit systems and smaller municipalities with different transit
demands.
    The formula is based on a ratio of 70 per cent ridership and 30 per cent
population. This means that 70 per cent of the projected 2007/08 allocation
($220 million) will be distributed to municipalities on the basis of their
transit ridership levels and 30 per cent ($94 million) will be distributed on
the basis of their population.

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

               Municipality                            Gas Tax Allocation
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Barrie                                                 $1,892,771
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Belleville                                             $707,803
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Blind River                                            $17,025
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Brampton                                               $6,843,401
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Brantford                                              $1,236,065
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Brockville                                             $218,350
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Burlington                                             $2,091,717
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chapleau                                               $19,712
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chatham-Kent                                           $829,971
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Clarence-Rockland                                      $248,086
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cobourg                                                $185,949
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cochrane                                               $27,994
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Collingwood                                            $164,265
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cornwall                                               $550,214
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Dryden                                                 $71,762
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Durham Region                                          $7,186,949
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Dysart                                                 $12,143
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Elliot Lake                                            $141,550
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Espanola                                               $13,497
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Fort Erie                                              $172,707
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Fort Frances                                           $79,215
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Greenstone                                             $15,487
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Guelph                                                 $2,625,440
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Halton Hills                                           $151,790
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hamilton                                               $11,209,240
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hanover                                                $370,234
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hearst                                                 $34,451
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Huntsville                                             $57,753
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ingersoll                                              $66,281
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Kapuskasing                                            $45,334
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Kawartha Lakes                                         $656,729
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Kenora                                                 $153,058
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Kingston                                               $1,969,117
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Lanark County                                          $176,246
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    LaSalle                                                $33,164
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Leamington                                             $157,751
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    London                                                 $8,951,377
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Loyalist Township                                      $154,095
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Machin                                                 $10,567
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Meaford                                                $49,193
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Midland                                                $133,585
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Milton                                                 $317,859
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mississauga                                            $15,477,828
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Niagara Falls                                          $1,141,019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Niagara Region                                         $620,085
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    North Bay                                              $1,195,138
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    North Huron                                            $70,862
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    North Perth                                            $20,425
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Oakville                                               $2,292,327
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Orangeville                                            $215,286
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Orillia                                                $352,178
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ottawa                                                 $35,948,701
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Owen Sound                                             $268,369
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Peel                                                   $681,339
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Pembroke                                               $118,922
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Perth East                                             $42,616
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Peterborough City                                      $1,444,272
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Peterborough County                                    $58,844
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Point Edward                                           $25,262
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Port Colborne                                          $101,792
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Port Hope, Town                                        $148,273
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Prince Edward County                                   $37,500
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Quinte West                                            $215,493
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Renfrew                                                $182,988
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sarnia                                                 $915,438
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sault Ste Marie                                        $1,171,137
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Schrieber                                              $24,508
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    St Catharines                                          $2,494,141
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    St Marys                                               $74,622
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    St Thomas                                              $428,013
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Stratford                                              $455,440
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sudbury (Greater)                                      $2,753,279
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Temiskaming Shores                                     $99,203
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thorold                                                $249,993
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thunder Bay                                            $1,898,649
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Timmins                                                $639,081
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Toronto                                                $161,225,413
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Trent Hills                                            $47,699
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Waterloo Region                                        $8,538,324
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Wawa (was Michipicoten)                                $30,293
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Welland                                                $550,506
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    West Elgin                                             $28,311
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    West Perth (was Mitchell)                              $42,953
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Windsor                                                $3,751,272
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Woodstock                                              $391,224
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    York Region                                            $13,486,460
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TOTAL                                                  $314,000,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Contact:
    Bob Nichols
    Ministry of Transportation
    416-327-1158

    Disponible en français

                              www.mto.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

         WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THE PROVINCIAL GAS TAX PROGRAM
    

    "St. Catharines Transit Commission now has cleaner, greener buses thanks,
in large part, to gas tax funding."
    Rick Werner, St. Catharines Transit Chairman

    "For us, gas tax funding means new public transit service, allowing
Niagara residents to travel across municipal boundaries."
    Eric Pilon, Transit Manager, Niagara Specialized Transit

    "More frequent service ... Less time waiting for a bus. That's what gas
tax funding has given the City of Brampton."
    Sue Bass, Director of Transit, City of Brampton

    "Gas tax has helped accomplish some great things - encouraging more
people to take public transit. We anticipate increasing ridership by 25 per
cent within the next five years."
    Geoff Marinoff, Director, Mississauga Transit

    "Thanks to gas tax funding service is growing and ridership is growing
and as a result, we are optimistic about the future role of transit as the
transportation method of choice."
    Paula Nichols, Manager of Public Transit and Parking, City of Kingston

    "Gas tax funding has meant more passenger-friendly and more convenient
public transit. Sarnia is moving forward with service improvements, while
upgrading our fleet."
    Jim Stevens, Director of Sarnia Transit

    "We've improved customer experience with the purchase of new buses and
will soon offer new inter-community service by using gas tax funding."
    Roger Sauve, Director of Transit, Greater City of Sudbury

    "A vital component in achieving the vision of Places to Grow and reducing
the carbon footprint of our community, gas tax funding has helped us provide
365-day public transit. People can catch a bus any day of the week, any time
of the year."
    Mike Salisbury, Guelph Councillor

    "The provincial gas tax subsidy has helped the city address ridership
growth on the Para Transit System and during 2007 expand regular transit from
a two-bus to a three-bus system that will be 100% accessible by 2008. And,
it's helped us reduce the tax rate."
    Mayor David Henderson, City of Brockville

    "The gas tax makes a real difference as it provides sustainable funding
for municipal transit. It is also an important element of an overall funding
strategy for this region's longer-term transit needs. Metrolinx looks forward
to addressing these needs as we work with our government partners to develop a
long-term transportation vision for citizens in our region."
    Rob MacIsaac, Chair, Metrolinx

    "The Province's support of public transit is having a direct and positive
impact upon ridership. Municipalities are expanding their fleets with new,
fully accessible vehicles, as well as with customer service-oriented
technologies, all of which help to attract and to keep riders. OPTA is very
pleased to be working with the Provincial Government in its efforts to
encourage healthier, economically viable communities."
    Béatrice Schmied, CEO, Ontario Public Transit Association (OPTA)

    "Transit ridership across Ontario has continued to set records every year
since the gas tax program began in 2004. This investment has been critical in
allowing transit systems to expand capacity and meet rapidly growing demand.
In 2006, over 750 million trips were taken on Ontario transit systems,
representing a 10.5 per cent increase in just three years."
    Michael W. Roschlau, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian
    Urban Transit Association

    Contact:
    Bob Nichols
    Ministry of Transportation
    416-327-1158

    
    Disponible en français

                              www.mto.gov.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: David Oved, Minister's Office, (416) 327-1855;
Bob Nichols, Communications Branch, (416) 327-1158; Public Inquiries: (416)
235-4686 (GTA), 1-800-268-4686 toll free

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