New funding provides added relief to ensure transit remains a reliable travel option
SAULT STE. MARIE – Ontario is providing an additional $1,176,131 in funding to help Sault Ste. Marie address the financial impacts on its transit system from the COVID-19 pandemic. This latest funding of the Safe Restart Agreement brings the total funding in Sault Ste. Marie over $3.9 million. Funding helps the municipality continue the delivery of critical public transit services.
“This is great news for Sault Ste. Marie,” said MPP Ross Romano. “COVID-19 continues to have a heavy impact on our community and a greater impact on our public transit system. This additional funding will ensure local transit continues to operate, provide a clean and safe environment for riders, and provide a vital service for those who need it most.”
The additional $150 million in provincial funding announced today, means that there is a total of $650 million in funding still available to municipalities up to December 31, 2021, with extensions to December 2022 granted on a case-by-case basis. In addition, Ontario is calling on the federal government to match the additional funding announced today to help ensure municipal financial needs continue to be met.
“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. “Transit operators have done an incredible job keeping transit operating during this challenging time, and this support will help ensure there is reliable transportation for people can get to work or pick up essential items.”
As part of the Safe Restart Agreement funding, municipalities need to work with the province to explore options to ensure local transit is safe, sustainable, affordable and integrated, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
To support this work, Ontario is allowing municipalities to use Safe Restart Agreement funding towards new initiatives to make it easier and more affordable to travel between different transit systems, like adding capacity for on-demand microtransit and increasing fare and service integration across the region.
“We are committed to supporting our municipal partners in their mission to build back transit ridership when we come out of this pandemic,” said Associate Minister Kinga Surma. “We recognize there’s an opportunity now to work with our partners to ensure transit is safe, sustainable and affordable, both during COVID-19 and as we begin to recover.”
“I want to recognize the Government of Ontario for providing the City with support through the Safe Restart Agreement,” said Christian Provenzano, Mayor of Sault Ste. Marie. “Throughout the pandemic, the City has prioritized the health and safety of residents during the provision of City services. Transit is a foremost example of our efforts to ensure residents have safe access to the services they need on a day-to-day basis. Support from our government partners helps us continue our efforts.”
- The federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement is providing up to a total $4 billion in emergency funding to help Ontario’s municipalities deliver critical services.
- The first phase of Safe Restart funding flowed $700 million to municipalities in 2020 and to date $1.5 billion funding has been allocated.
- During the first two phases of the Safe Restart Agreement, Sault Ste. Marie received a total funding of $2,746,145 to put towards public transit.
- As part of the Ontario’s Municipal Transit Enhanced Cleaning Program, Sault Ste. Marie received an additional $44,803 to provide transit riders with a clean and safe environment.
- In January 2021, the Ontario government provided Sault Ste. Marie’s with an additional $1,221,595 through the Gas Tax Fund to support local public transit during the COVID-19 pandemic.