Durham Region is set to receive millions from the province to go towards public transit.
As part of the province’s gas tax program, Durham will soon be receiving a cheque for a little more than $8.3 million – a bump from last year, when it received just over $8 million.
“Every year, the gas tax program from the province is a significant contributor to our budget,” Vincent Patterson, the general manager of Durham Region Transit, told The Oshawa Express after the funding announcement was made at regional headquarters. “It allows us to grow our system, to improve all facets of it – whether it’s the buses themselves or the smart technology aspects people can now turn to.”
The money from the province – which is made up of two cents per litre of provincial revenue from gasoline sales – makes up approximately 10 per cent of the region’s transit budget.
Last year, the money from the province went toward the purchase of new buses, resulting in the last bus that wasn’t fully accessible being taken out of the fleet.
Patterson said it’s too early to say what the money will go toward this year.
“We’re finalizing our budget submission to the region, so that’ll be forthcoming in just a few weeks, so I think we’ll wait it out until then to have a good discussion with the elected officials to get direction on where do we go,” he said.
In total, the province is dolling out $332.9 million to 95 municipalities through the gas tax program this year, with the largest beneficiary being Toronto, receiving more than half of the funds with just under $169.2 million heading its way.
“It’s a big number province wide to support municipal transit systems,” Steven Del Duca, the province’s transportation minister, said following the funding announcement. “Since 2004, billions of dollars have flowed to municipal transit systems to help support the work that they do and the work that’s done here in Durham to expand transit options for the people that we all represent.”