PRESS RELEASE: Funding Announcement Makes Clear Transit Not a Priority for Sutcliffe, Says Horizon Ottawa


OTTAWA - The provincial government announcement negotiated by Mayor Sutcliffe’s office makes it clear that “fixing transit” is not high on the Mayor’s list of campaign promises.

The announcement from the Ford government today makes a $543 million commitment over 10 years, the majority of which is going towards funding highways and road use as well as policing efforts like the proposed police station in the Byward Market. The announcement however makes zero reference to any new operating funding despite OC Transpo’s continued deficit amounting to tens of millions of dollars.

Earlier in 2023, throughout budget conversations, Sutcliffe repeatedly stated that he was unable to get funding for transit from different levels of government. Mayor Chow in Toronto however was able to secure $330 million in transit operating funding from the provincial government.

“Our public transit system is facing one of the worst crises it has ever faced as a result of constant underfunding and the COVID pandemic. Why is operating funding not part of this announcement?” asked Meaghan Burden, a Board Member with Horizon Ottawa. “It’s disheartening to see that other cities are able to negotiate more funding for transit while our Mayor is focusing more on roads and highways - transit is clearly not a priority for Sutcliffe.”

At an event earlier today, Ford and Sutcliffe said that federal government workers working from home has been a significant reason that ridership has been lower, ignoring the significant cuts that have been made in the two previous municipal budgets as well as lack of funding from the provincial government.

A significant portion of the announcement is uploading of the costs to maintain the highway 174 which in theory, opens up millions in funding for the city to spend on other priorities - like public transit.

“It’s time for Mayor Sutcliffe and Premier Ford to stop blaming hybrid workers and realize that this is a crisis of the government’s own making because of a legacy of cuts that hurts residents across the city.” Said Burden. “We hope that extra money from the 174, for example, could be used to make up for the missing operating funding and hope as well that our Mayor, the Premier and Prime Minister will finally take Ottawa’s transit crisis seriously.”


For Media Inquiries:

Sam Hersh
[email protected]

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