Regina Short-Changed in Transit Funding
June 3rd, 2016
Regina–Lewvan MP Erin Weir, who has been speaking up in Parliament for more federal support for Regina Transit (e.g. May 5 and May 11), welcomed today’s announcement of a new Maintenance Facility but raised concern that the federal budget still provides far less than our fair share of transit funding.
“The new Regina Transit Maintenance Facility is positive,” said Weir. “But the bigger picture is that the Liberal government has allocated less than 1% of transit funding to Saskatchewan, even though we comprise more than 3% of Canada’s population.”
Saskatchewan’s per capita share of the $3.4-billion Public Transit Infrastructure Fund should have been more than $100 million. Instead, Budget 2016 (see page 92) allocated only $29 million of it to our province – a shortfall of over $70 million.
Today’s announcement of just under $10 million from another federal infrastructure fund does little to close that gap.
The problem is that the Liberals chose to allocate the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund based on existing ridership, favouring regions that already have extensive transit systems. By contrast, virtually all other federal-provincial transfers are based on population.
“If the federal government is serious about reducing congestion and carbon emissions, it should strive to expand public transit in cities like Regina that are currently underserved,” said Weir.
“Allocating future funding according to 2014 ridership fails to extend transit options across Canada and shortchanges Saskatchewan. New Democrats will keep pushing for Regina’s fair share!”