Ontario Increases Transit Support for Brantford-Brant

Will Bouma

New funding provides added relief to ensure transit remains a reliable travel option

NEWS March 1, 2021

BRANTFORD – Ontario is providing in funding to help the City of Brantford and the County of Brant address the financial impacts on its transit system from the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding is in addition to the $2 billion previously committed by Ontario and the federal government through the Safe Restart Agreement to help municipalities continue to deliver critical transit services through the Safe Restart Agreement. During the peak of the pandemic, ridership dropped up to 90% of normal levels for some of Ontario’s transit systems, which resulted in significant financial impacts for municipalities.

“This is great news for Brantford-Brant,” said MPP Will Bouma. “COVID-19 continues to impact our transit system and this additional funding will ensure local transit can continue to operate and provide a vital service for those who need it.” 

The additional $150 million in provincial funding means that there is a total of $650 million in funding still available to municipalities up to December 31, 2021, with extensions to December 2022 granted on a case-by-case basis. In addition, Ontario is calling on the federal government to match the additional funding announced today to help ensure municipal financial needs continue to be met.

“We heard from municipalities and we are responding to their need for more support as COVID-19 continues to result in lost revenue and additional costs for transit systems,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “Transit operators have done an incredible job keeping transit operating during this challenging time, and this support will help ensure there is reliable transportation for people can get to work or pick up essential items.” 

“Like other sources of City revenue that were expected in 2020, but not received as a result of mandatory service changes to comply with COVID-19 provincial measures, Brantford Transit revenues were and continue to be much lower than anticipated in the City’s budget planning prior to the pandemic”, said Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis. “Furthermore, the City has had to make additional investments to upgrade cleaning protocols on City buses. That combined with the loss of expected revenue has had a very detrimental impact on the City’s bottom line so we are very grateful to the province for this much needed funding and support.”

“We are incredibly grateful to the Province of Ontario’s for their ongoing support of the County of Brant,” said Mayor David Bailey.  “Public transit is a very important service to County residents and also helps to reduce road congestion and air pollution, all of which benefit both riders and non-riders alike.  The County’s public transit is modeled on a micro-transit system that is more customizable than the traditional public bus system.  It has played a critical role supporting some of the most vulnerable citizens during the ongoing pandemic. We are looking forward to further developing the County’s public transit services to meet the needs of residents.”

As part of the Safe Restart Agreement funding, municipalities need to work with the province to explore options to ensure local transit is safe, sustainable, affordable and integrated, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

To support this work, Ontario is allowing municipalities to use Safe Restart Agreement funding towards new initiatives to make it easier and more affordable to travel between different transit systems, like adding capacity for on-demand microtransit and increasing fare and service integration across the region.

The breakdown for this funding is:

City of Brantford: $1,257,750.00

County of Brant:  $6,304.00

“We are committed to supporting our municipal partners in their mission to build back transit ridership when we come out of this pandemic,” said Associate Minister Kinga Surma. “We recognize there’s an opportunity now to work with our partners to ensure transit is safe, sustainable and affordable, both during COVID-19 and as we begin to recover.”

QUICK FACTS

  • The federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement is providing up to a total $4 billion in emergency funding to help Ontario’s municipalities deliver critical services.
  • The first phase of Safe Restart funding flowed $700 million to municipalities in 2020 and to date $1.5 billion funding has been allocated.

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For more information, contact MPP Will Bouma at 519-759-0361 or [email protected]