STM reacts to federal budget’s lack of support for public transit

Posted: 19 April 2024 | | No comments yet

STM expresses disappointment with the 2024-2025 federal budget’s lack of new measures to support public transit infrastructure, highlighting concerns about potential impacts on urban mobility and housing initiatives.

STM reacts to federal budget's lack of support for public transit

Credit: Société de transport de Montréal

In response to the recently unveiled 2024-2025 federal budget, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) has expressed deep concerns about the absence of new measures aimed at addressing critical challenges faced by major transit authorities across Canada.

In a statement, STM noted that the budget did not include specific provisions targeted at bolstering public transit infrastructure – a key component in managing urban growth and mobility. This absence is notable given the significant emphasis on housing support within the federal budget.

“Without public transit infrastructure in good condition to support demographic growth and accelerated housing construction, the affordability crisis risks increasing traffic congestion and mobility crisis in our major cities. Public transit is an essential infrastructure for housing. We are disappointed that the federal government has not taken steps to ensure it can support its ambitious housing objectives,” said Éric Alan Caldwell, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the STM. 

Canada’s three largest transit agencies urge early funding allocation for critical projects

The STM’s response follows an earlier plea made in March 2024 by three prominent transit operators across the country – STM, Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and Translink – tasked with ensuring mobility in Canada’s largest metropolitan areas. They collectively urged the Canadian government to expedite the implementation of the Permanent Transit Fund to 2024, two years earlier than originally planned for 2026.

“Operating 60% of the country’s public transit ridership, the companies also asked the government to double the Canada Community-Building Fund. This request aimed to increase federal funding for infrastructure, since the STM’s and TTC’s asset maintenance needs alone exceed the sums available in the new permanent fund,” said STM General Manager Marie-Claude Léonard.  

Despite the current budget’s stance on transit, the STM has stated that it reaffirms its commitment to collaborating closely with governmental partners at various levels to identify viable solutions addressing the substantial funding challenges associated with public transit.