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DisappointmentLeaks and rumours gave hope


Leaks and rumours gave hope of help from our federal government to our beleagered cities and their transit agencies. The Federal Budget did not fulfill these hopes; at least, not substantially. Three billion dollars were promised, and while that sounds substantial, it isn’t when one considers the fine print: the money spread out over ten years, twenty cities, and for all manner of projects, from sewers, to water mains, to roads as well as public transit. In the end, the TTC will be lucky if it gets more than $10 million.

Most frustratingly, there was no announcement of any plans to make transit passes tax deductible. This measure, which would have been quite small in terms of funds, would have redressed one of the greater imbalances of our auto-centric country. One of the hidden subsidies of our automobile use would have been identified and transit altered to balance. But, alas, it was not to be. Although Liberal MP Judy Sgro would not say so publicly, newspaper columnists noted her clear disappointment over the Federal government’s inaction.

The Federal budget has its supporters, and a few reasons to cheer, but for public transit it is yet another missed opportunity.