Pre Budget consultations 2003 The House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Finance Claude Dauphin proposes a public transit fun

Press release

Pre Budget consultations 2003
The House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Finance
Claude Dauphin proposes a public transit funding strategy

Montreal, November 5, 2003 –  The chair of the Board of directors, Claude Dauphin, submitted a brief to members of the House of Common’s Standing Committee on Finance within the framework of Pre-budget consultations 2003.

Entitled: “Faire le choix du transport en commun pour le d�veloppement durable de la Société canadienne (Choosing public transit for a sustainable development of the Canadian society), the brief proposes to develop a strategy of investment in public transit. Among the recommendations, the document suggests: to introduce a grant program for investing in preservation and development of public transportation infrastructures; to dedicate the federal tax on gas – or part of it –  to public transit as a support measure, and to exonerate transit authorities from the federal tax on gas; to adopt tax relief measures that favour transit users.

Claude Dauphin demonstrated how public transit is important to the realization of government’s goals. He also heightened the awareness of committee members to the financial needs of public transit – a situation that is not exclusive to transit in Montreal, but commonplace in the public transportation industry. He emphasized on the importance of public transit in urban areas, where it constitutes a worthwhile alternative to the automobile. Public transit does not only carry people, it helps reducing traffic congestion; contributes to improve traffic fluidity allowing to reduce cost transportation of goods, as well as expenses for construction and maintenance of public roads. In addition, public transit can help increasing the urban density as well as it widens the influence of city cores, and it has a positive influence on air quality and preservation of energy resources.

The brief also underlines that the choice of public transit is decreasing in comparison with all other transportation modes, and identifies the causes. This decrease results of a combination of causes as: the gradual withdrawal of government funding in public transit and factors which favour the widespread use of the automobile. “It is not too late to correct the situation and to boost public transit. However, public transit will be able to fully play its role and generate positive effects only, and only if, it’s granted with solid and sustainable foundations”, said Claude Dauphin.

As to the financial framework, it is impossible for transit agencies to maintain and  preserve their assets and services. Therefore, the STM proposes a funding strategy to the federal government that would sustain the evolution of public transit systems. Claude Dauphin added being confident that the federal government would take the necessary decisions to favour a revitalisation of public transit.

The brief is available in its original French version on the STM’s Website.

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