CUTA Releases Federal Party Positions on Public Transit
TORONTO, April 27 /CNW/ - The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA)
is today renewing their call to federal party leaders to take action to
keep Canada's cities moving by supporting transit.
In many cities, transportation has become the number one public issue.
"According to a public opinion survey conducted for CUTA by Harris
Decima just prior to the election call, a majority of those surveyed
believe it is important to have access to public transit in their
community," says Michael Roschlau, CUTA President & CEO. "Yet only 29%
believe the federal government is doing enough to support public
"Clearly, Canadians think transit is a priority," says John King, CUTA
First Vice Chair, "and we urge the federal party leaders to take this
issue on and commit to long-term, sustainable investment in transit
infrastructure, and changes to transit tax policy to benefit
Each of the federal parties has identified steps that they will take
regarding public transit, either in official response to CUTA's federal
election questionnaire or from published campaign platforms.
Conservative Party of Canada:
Work with provinces, territories, the Federation of Canadian
Municipalities and other stakeholders to develop a long-term plan for
public infrastructure that extends beyond the expiry of the Building
Introduce legislation to confirm permanent funding for municipal
infrastructure through the Gas Tax Fund.
Liberal Party of Canada:
Provide leadership, working with other levels of government and the
private sector to put in place a Canadian Transportation and
Infrastructure Strategy that targets long-term economic benefits. That
specifically includes local and regional transit, rapid transit and
commuter rail that helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing
efficient alternatives to private vehicles.
A Liberal government will also be open to exploring with stakeholders
incentives to favour a modal shift to transit during peak hours.
New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP):
Enact a National Public Transit Strategy, which would provide a
permanent investment plan to support public transit and establish
federal funding mechanisms to support public transit.
Allocate another cent of the existing gas tax to public transit funding
Encourage transit use by providing a tax exemption for employee
workplace-based transit passes.
Support major investments in public transit infrastructure such as
dedicated transit lanes, as well as the development of new lines for
commuter trains, tramways, and trolleybuses.
Green Party of Canada:
Commit 2.1 billion dollars in new mass transit funding over the next
Work together with the provinces and municipalities to establish six
municipal superfunds to provide steady, consistent funding for
municipalities. One of these funds will be dedicated to mass transit
Make employer-provided transit passes tax-free by exempting them from
taxable benefit status, to encourage workers and businesses to use
Provide financial support to provinces that provide free public transit
passes to people living below the poverty line.
"In its own way, each party has indicated that it supports transit,"
says Roschlau. "CUTA is pleased to see these various announcements and
policy statements; however, we are calling on party leaders to
specifically get things rolling now by adding a dedicated top-up to the
existing federal gas tax fund for transit. The fund is in place, it
works and we all understand it."
Canadian transit ridership continues to set all-time records, carrying
over 1.82 billion passenger trips per year, and is increasing at a rate
two or three times the rate of population growth. This demonstrates
that public transit can and will attract more and more Canadians, under
conditions where the right balance between expanded service and fare
incentives can be provided.
An efficient, secure and consistent public transit system will provide
significant economic, environmental and social benefits for the entire
nation. "Only with the application of true, long-term, and dedicated
investment can we achieve both an efficient and equitable public
transit system for Canadians," adds King. "I invite federal party
leaders to take a leadership role and make transit a priority in this
election and in the next Parliament."
CUTA is the national association representing public transit systems,
suppliers to the industry, government agencies, individuals and related
organizations in Canada.
SOURCE Canadian Urban Transit Association
For further information:
Maureen Shuell, CUTA Director of Communications
(416) 365-9800 ext. 105