ON: Transportation Minister Sees Gas-Tax as Vital Investment in Public Transit

Do you ever wonder where the tax you pay at the gas pump goes?

Well, Ontario Minister of Transportation Kathleen Wynne just brought the municipality's portion (two-cents per litre sold) to Oakville for use on public transit. This year, this amounts to nearly $2.3 million in Oakville and a total of $318 million province-wide.

We really are in the midst of a culture change of getting people out of their cars and onto transit, Wynne told a gathering of media and transit workers inside the New Oakville Transit facility on Wyecroft Road Friday, May 20.

She added the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area is in the midst of a culture change of getting people out of their cars and into public transit.

I know very well it has not been more convenient for people to take transit than drive their car, and that's where we need to get to, she said. We have to get to a place where it's easier and more convenient, in every way, to get on transit than to take a car. That's what's beginning to happen.

In 2004, the Dalton McGuinty government started the gas-tax transfer funding for municipal government. Funding to municipalities is based on a ratio of 70 percent ridership and 30 percent population.

Since 2004, Oakville has received $11.9 million for its transit system and more than $1 billion has been shared with municipalities across the province.

Mayor Rob Burton thanked the minister for the current and previous funding.

In order to continue to go forward in life, in order to continue to meet the needs of society, we require governments that are forward looking and not obsessed with the past, he said. The council of the Town of Oakville is that kind of government. It has a plan for the future and it is delighted we have a partner in the Province of Ontario that is similarly forward looking and understands that the needs of the people must be met.

Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn also commended the government s continued support of public transit, even during the recession.

We're still continuing to not only invest in transit, we're increasing our investment in transit, he said. I think that shows our commitment to the type of service we'd like to see across the province of Ontario.

This year, 93 transit systems receive funding through the gas-tax transfer.

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