This summer, Infrastructure Canada started the process of public consultations on the design and implementation of a Permanent Public Transit Fund, seeking feedback to inform a long-term transit investment strategy that aims to build complete, sustainable and inclusive communities and unlock opportunities to address other challenges, including housing affordability. Initially announced in February 2021, alongside $14.9 billion over eight years in public transit project funding, the new fund would provide $3 billion per year in permanent, predictable federal public transit funding, slated to begin in 2026.
Transport Action Canada, in collaboration with its regional chapters, has prepared a submission to this process. The full document is included below.
The core objective of the new program, in our view, should be to remove mobility barriers to participation in society for people throughout Canada. Rural-urban equity, settler-indigenous equity, age, racial, disability, and gender inclusion should all be considered in the design of this program so that nobody in Canada is literally “left behind” and therefore at risk. In particular, the Government of Canada has an obligation to fulfil the MMWIG Calls to Justice promptly and in their entirety, including ubiquitous access to safe transportation.
There is a danger that any new transit funding program will primarily serve larger cities, as has been the case with previous federal funding programs, rather than the entire populace of the country. We have asked the government to take particular care to include and empower rural, northern, and indigenous communities that do not have the fiscal or administrative capacity of Canada’s larger cities; and to consider the issue of inter-community and long distance bus and rail services alongside this program, to rebuild a comprehensive network.
This phase of consultation has been extended to October 14th, 2022.