The President of Amalgamated Transit Union Canada says the budgetary priorities of the Conservative government of Ontario that were announced yesterday are grave threats to transit operations.
“Any municipality that was promised an increase in gas tax revenue will be reeling from yesterday’s broken promise in the budget. Local governments were promised a doubling of their share of gas tax revenue, from 2 cents per litre to 4 cents per litre. That increase was taken away,” says ATU Canada President John Di Nino. “It’s not that the gas tax was set to increase but the promise was public transit would get a larger cut for operations.”
Di Nino says this change will hurt all municipal transit systems as many cities had planned to hire more bus operators or commit that money to the state of good repair.
“No one is surprised the PC government would do this because it is the standard play for pro-business politicians: first they underfund public transit, then they criticize public transit, then they privatize public transit,” says Di Nino.
ATU Local 1767 President Business Agent Dennis Champagne is calling out area MPP Ross Romano for being part of a party that breaks promises to fund transit. Back in May 2018, the PC Party promised to increase the share of gas tax revenues that went to municipal transit.
“Everyone in Sault Ste Marie knows it’s not okay to break promises except for MPP Romano. The City will lose the potential of millions in extra revenue that will ultimately hurt the riders the most. Does MPP Romano really think it’s okay to make promises to get elected and then break that promise at the first opportunity?”
The Amalgamated Transit Union represents over 34,000 transit professionals in Canada and approximately 65 transit professionals in Sault Ste. Marie.