Orangeville Transit receives $81K to ride out the pandemic

·2 min read

Orangeville Transit is getting government funds to help it ride out the pandemic.

The transit authority will receive $81,309 as part of the $150 million the provincial government provides to municipalities.

“The $150 million noted by the report was just announced on Monday,” said Doug Jones, general manager of infrastructure services. “It is to offset operational losses due to COVID-19. The transit hub is a capital expenditure and is not eligible for this funding.”

Council requested town staff to investigate the possibility of using the Edelbrock Centre as a transit hub. This came after councillors reversed their decision on the Broadway hub in a 4-3 vote on Nov. 23, after hearing numerous concerns from downtown businesses and the BIA.

This allocation builds upon the first phase of the federal and provincial Safe Restart Agreement announced in summer 2020. It was developed to help municipalities deliver critical services during COVID-19.

“The town has received Phase 1 SRF funding of $96,000 for the 2020 fiscal period,” said Nandini Syed, treasurer. “We have also received $1.5 million in ICIP (Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program) funding.”

The first phase of Safe Restart funding for transit flowed $700 million to municipalities in 2020, and to date, $1.5 billion in funding has been allocated.

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

"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.

The town also received an ICIP grant of $2.09 million, of which 26.67 per cent is the responsibility of the municipality. The federal and provincial governments provide the other 73 per cent.

“These funds will be utilized to purchase new buses to accommodate the system going to an expanded four-route system, new transit station, new transit shelters and stop amenities and finally for a specialized transit service, not until 2024,” said John Lackey, manager of transportation and development.

Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner