NDP Call on Pallister Government to Restore Transit Funding

October 11, 2018

Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew and NDP MLA James Allum called on the Pallister government to reverse his cuts to public transit and restore the 50/50 public transit funding agreement with municipalities, including the City of Winnipeg. Allum introduced a private member’s resolution in the Legislature this morning with the support of Aleem Chaudhary, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505 (ATU).

“Last year Brian Pallister revoked a long-standing commitment to keep public transit services strong in Manitoba cities and we’re starting to see the effects of that cut nearly a year later,” said Kinew. “Instead of investing in a modern transit system to meet the growing needs of our province, the Pallister government is making transit less effective and less reliable for Manitobans.”

The elimination of the 50/50 funding deal forced the City of Winnipeg to make cuts to the public transit system and increase fares by 25 cents for riders. Pallister’s cut means less money for investments in green electric buses, exacerbated by his recent flip flop on a carbon tax. Experts agree that transit systems must be less expensive, more efficient, and greener in order to increase the number of users and diminish carbon emissions.

“We understand a reliable public transit system is a sign of a vibrant city and a dynamic downtown,” said Allum. “At a time when investments in green transit should be increasing, the Pallister government is stunting our growth. Our resolution is a call for the government to recommit to a strong transit system and a return to the 50/50 funding model.”

ATU recently released a Probe poll (see Acrobat file below) which found nearly eighty per cent of Winnipeggers believe it is important for the province to share the cost of transit with the City of Winnipeg. Nearly forty per cent believe it is very important. Of the sample, Winnipeg core residents and regular transit rides were most supportive of a shared funding model.

"These cuts are making it more difficult for municipalities to deliver quality public transit in growing cities, such as Winnipeg and Brandon," Chaudhary said. "Now, more than ever, we need a government that is on board with putting transit back on track. We're hopeful that the government will side with the 79% of Winnipeg residents who want to see the funding restored."

PDF FormatAdobe Acrobat version.