The transportation ministers of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec issued a joint statement Tuesday calling on the federal government to commit to helping cover the cost of transit system operations in their provinces.
“We call on the Government of Canada to commit to sharing in the cost to ensure transit systems can continue to operate and meet the needs of people across the country,” said Claire Trevena, British Columbia’s minister of transportation; François Bonnardel, Québec’s minister of transport; Ric McIver, minister of transportation in Alberta; and Caroline Mulroney, Ontario’s transportation minister, in a joint statement.
Public transit agencies are facing an unprecedented financial challenge with millions in lost revenue due to plummeting ridership levels stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ministers say in order to deal with the crisis, federal support for transit operations should be allocated directly to provinces as with other bilateral programs in areas of provincial jurisdiction, as provinces are in the best position to redistribute funds quickly and appropriately.
“As public transportation has been declared an essential service by both federal and provincial governments, we have to work together in order to guarantee the financial survival of transit agencies through the COVID-19 crisis,” the minister’s statement said.