Cities ask parties to pledge transit help after pandemic eats into ridership revenues

·1 min read

OTTAWA — Canada's municipal leaders are asking federal parties for promises to pump more money into local transit systems to combat pandemic-induced declines in revenues.

Ridership dropped precipitously last year when public health officials ordered all non-essential workers to stay home, depriving municipal coffers of the money needed to run and maintain buses, subways and light-rail systems.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage notes his city was losing between $2 million and $4 million a month.

Savage and other leaders with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities are asking federal parties to commit themselves to providing multi-year funding for cities to close the budgetary gap if any are elected to govern.

Savage says there is still a big hole in local budgets that, left unfilled, could become a financial sinkhole for cities, and prevent many from expanding and modernizing transit options.

The ask is one of several the Federation of Canadian Municipalities is making today as part of its full slate of campaign requests from parties that also includes proposals for housing, homelessness and the environment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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