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York transit snags $16.7M in provincial gas tax funding

York Region’s share of Ontario’s $364-million gas tax program goes directly into the tanks of YRT buses and helps pay for maintenance and service improvements
2018-08-24 York Region Transit
Supplied photo/York Region Transit

Provincial gas tax funding — $16.7 million for York Region Transit this year — is helping to keep your taxes down and improve the system, its general manager says.  

“The annual funding that the provincial gas tax program provides is very important and has been included in the budget process for a number of years,” said Ann-Marie Carroll. “It reduces the amount of money needed to be subsidized by tax revenue.”

York Region’s $16.7-million share of Ontario’s gas tax program pie goes directly into the tanks of YRT buses and also helps pay for fleet maintenance and overall operation of the service.

Ontario Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek announced Jan. 8 that 107 municipalities will share $364 million in gas tax funding this year to maintain, expand or improve public transit systems.

"We are investing in public transit to make it a more convenient travel option and to attract more riders," Yurek said in a news release. "More public transit will cut through gridlock and get people moving."

For its part, York Region is committed to improving the variety of choices and levels of service for riders, along with keeping operating costs down, Carroll said.

YRT saw 300,000 more riders in 2017 compared to the previous year, accounting for 23.1 million passenger trips. Five years ago, ridership totalled 22.5 million.

Ontario's gas tax program funding is drawn from the number of litres of gasoline sold in the province. It provides municipalities that operate public transit systems with two cents per litre of provincial gas tax revenues. The share that each municipality receives is based on a formula of 70 per cent ridership and 30 per cent population.

The funding must be used for transit capital or operating expenses, at its own discretion, including upgrading transit infrastructure, increasing accessibility, purchasing vehicles or adding more routes or extended hours of service.

Neighbouring Bradford West Gwillimbury will receive $238,000, Simcoe County will receive $898,000, and Toronto will receive $185 million.

York Region Transit by the numbers (2017):

  • 78,097: passengers on an average weekday
  • 137: bus routes
  • 408,000: trips on Mobility Plus
  • 5,051: bus stops
  • 406: conventional buses
  • 123: Viva buses
  • 97: Mobility Plus vehicles
  • 12: Dial-a-Ride services
The 2018-2019 gas-tax funding by municipality can be found here.

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Kim Champion

About the Author: Kim Champion

Kim Champion is a veteran journalist and editor who covers Newmarket and issues that impact York Region.
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