(Ottawa) Mayors of Canada’s largest city are asking Ottawa for help to make up tens of millions of dollars for shortfalls in their transportation systems and so as not to slow the country’s economic recovery.
The COVID-19 health crisis has caused chaos in the coffers of municipalities, which have lost a lot of money due to the huge decrease in the number of passengers on public transport. At the same time, spending has increased in the city and mayors have repeatedly called on Ottawa to help them fill these gaps.
Mike Savage, Mayor of Halifax and chair of the Caucus of Mayors within the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), made clear before Wednesday’s meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, mayors were first focused on getting “durable and predictable” help to the public. transportation fees.
They want to avoid service outages that would harm workers and businesses during the gradual resumption of economic activities in the center of large cities.
M. Savage a égallement déclaré que sans cette aide, les villes pourraient avoir du mal à moderniser leurs systèmes de transport collectif, une initiative que les libéraux fédéraux avaient pourtant promis de financer en partie, parnds le structure l biais’ du transportin in common.
The FCM anticipates that municipalities across the country will face operational deficits in their transportation systems for at least the next three years. They don’t have an overall estimate of expected losses during this period, other than that it would have to be in the tens of millions of dollars a year for large cities across the country.
The mayor of Gatineau, Maxim Bedniod Gubin, expects losses of 10 million annually over three years, due to a decrease in the number of passengers on city buses. Mr. Savage says that in Toronto, those transportation losses could rise to 85 million this year and as much as 800 million in 2022 if left unchecked.
“It varies a lot from city to city, but the problem is the same from coast to coast,” said Mr Pedneaud-Jobin. “If we are facing a deficit in the next three years, […] We will not invest in recovery. He added that reducing the supply of services is not an option for us.
Mayors of major cities are also urging Ottawa to end chronic homelessness in Canada by promoting rapid construction of affordable housing.
During the election campaign, Federal Liberals promised to pump $4 billion into a new fund in order to create 100,000 new homes for the middle class by 2024-2025. They pledged a “demand-driven” fund to help municipalities build more homes faster.
Mr Pedneaud-Jobin says he “begs the federal government to take the reality on the ground into account” when creating this new accelerator fund. “You have to go to the right place. And in the case of large cities in Quebec, the right place is ‘Aquis Logis’, ‘Aquis Logis’.”
Mr Trudeau, at the end of his meeting with the mayors, had promised that the program would be flexible and adapted to local realities.