Following the release of the provincial government’s 2023–2024 budget, the STM welcomes the $400 million emergency funding announced for public transit as an average of 916,000 trips in its network per work day last week,
Following the release of the provincial government’s 2023–2024 budget, the STM welcomes the $400 million emergency funding announced for public transit. With an average of 916,000 trips in its network per work day last week, the STM echoes the province’s statements urging the federal government to take similar action.
“Our customers have returned to the STM network, and we welcome the help announced today,” says Éric Alan Caldwell, Chair of the STM Board of Directors. “But the amounts allocated are not enough, in our eyes, to get us on track for the kind of public transit resurgence necessary for a green transition.”
For the Montréal area, it is up to the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) to determine how the allocation will be spent. In February, the STM announced a plan to reduce spending by $18 million in 2023, without changes to its service offering. It now intends to continue taking an open, collaborative approach and is confident that the help announced today will have a direct, tangible impact on its finances.
However, the STM remains concerned with the low level of investment dedicated to asset maintenance, given the growing need. “Infrastructure maintenance and upkeep are a necessary condition for providing safe, efficient service,” says Caldwell. “For a successful transition from single-occupant car use to public transportation, the way forward is simple: provide Montrealers with safe, reliable, fast, efficient service. And all of that is contingent on keeping our infrastructures in good working order and financing our operations in line with our collective ambitions.”
In the coming weeks, the STM will take part in consultations with Geneviève Guilbault, Deputy Premier and Minister of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, to review the financing model for public transit agencies. In the meantime, it continues to call for urgent action.
Says Caldwell in conclusion, “We agree with the government: the status quo of public transit funding no longer holds up. It is essential that we identify dedicated, indexed, recurring sources of funding to finally give ourselves the means to fulfill our ambitions.”