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Province drives $250K in provincial transit funding to Orillia

'This additional funding will help deliver safe and reliable public transit for local communities,' says Ford, noting money is to help mitigate financial impacts of COVID-19
orillia transit buses downtown
Dave Dawson/OrilliaMatters File Photo

Area municipalities, including Orillia, will get their share of $505 million in new transit funding to offset the impact of COVID-19, as part of Phase 4 of the federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement, it was announced Wednesday.

Orillia is getting almost $250,000, while Barrie is receiving $1.1 million.

“This is great news for the city,” said Brent Forsyth, Barrie’s director of transit and parking strategy. “This funding will help mitigate the financial impacts that COVID has had on the municipal operating budget, with respect to both the reduced revenues and significant inflation to expenditures.”

Also receiving this funding is Collingwood at $81,853, Innisfil at $58,540, Penetanguishene at $32,630, Midland at $31,301, Wasaga Beach at $23,840, Simcoe County at $7,338, and both New Tecumseth and Bradford West Gwillimbury at $5,000.

“Public transit is a preferred method of transportation for many commuters in Bradford West Gwillimbury and we need to ensure they have reliable access to these services,” said Bradford Mayor James Leduc. “This much-needed funding from the Ontario and federal governments will ensure we can continue to serve our growing communities across Bradford and York-Simcoe.” 

The funding will help municipal transit systems address costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic between Feb. 1, 2022 and Dec. 31, 2022. Municipalities will be able to use their funding allocations to cover revenue losses, operating expenses and provincial transit priority projects, including fare and service integration, and on-demand transit. 

The province says 107 municipalities across Ontario have been allocated funding through Phase 4 of the Safe Restart Agreement.

“This additional funding will help deliver safe and reliable public transit for local communities both now and into the future,” said Premier Doug Ford.

“This funding, on top of what has already been provided, will help ensure reliable transportation options are available for everyone, whether you’re going to work, school or the grocery store,” said Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney, who is also the MPP in York-Simcoe.

This funding builds on the more than $2 billion in dedicated funding for municipal transit systems that the Ontario government, in conjunction with the federal government, has provided since 2020 to help transit systems across the province respond to the impact of COVID-19.

“Throughout the pandemic, countless essential workers relied on public transit to get to work and this funding will help ensure transit operators can continue to offer them and their communities a reliable service," said Jennifer O'Connell, parliamentary secretary to Dominic LeBlanc, federal minister of intergovernmental affairs, infrastructure and communities.