New money for public transportation
Montreal, 23 February 2005 - The Chairman of the STM Board of Directors, Claude Dauphin, welcomed the federal government’s decision to return to the provinces some $5 billion of revenue from the tax on gas over the next five years to finance environmentally-friendly local infrastructure, including those for public transit. « In fall 2004, Transport Minister Jean Lapierre had committed to set aside part of this tax to fund public transportation, and he has kept his promise. We commend the federal government for this achievement, because it shows on the one hand that public transit is a priority and, on the other, that transit requires more adequate financing. »
More precisely, the 2005 Federal Budget calls for remitting 1.5¢/litre of the federal tax on gas to the provinces, or roughly $140 M to Québec ($600 M Canada-wide) for redistribution among municipalities. The STM is hoping at least 25% of that amount will be earmarked for investment in public transportation. Based on ridership levels, the STM estimates the Montréal area could receive up to $33 M as early as 2005, and over $109 M by the end of the programme in 2009-2010. The money would be used to cover some of the need for investment, estimated at nearly $7.2 billion, for the Montréal area over the next ten years (R�no-Syst�mes programme, replacement of 336 first-generation MR-63 métro cars, among others). « Those needs are genuine and are becoming increasingly urgent if we want to ensure the quality and reliability of services, as well as committing to sustainable development and reaching the goals set out in the Kyoto Accord. The Québec government and municipalities must maintain their contribution to public transit, as the additional money from the gas tax is crucial to maintaining and developing the necessary infrastructure », added Mr. Dauphin.
In light of the project to optimize public transportation proposed by the Montréal Metropolitan Community, Mr. Dauphin hopes that Québec will waste no time in distributing this new money, as it would be of benefit to the million or so people who responsibly choose public transportation every day in the Montréal area.
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