The province of Ontario is providing more than $3.48M in new transit funding to assist the City of Peterborough and Peterborough County amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith announced the funding, which includes $3,487,386 for the city and $2,088 for the county. The funding is part of Monday’s province-wide announcement of $150 million in additional funding to help municipal transit systems address the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding complements previous emergency funding from the province and federal governments through their $4 billion Safe Restart Agreement. The first phase of the agreement provided $700 million to Ontario municipalities.
“This is great news for both the City and County of Peterborough,” Smith said. “COVID-19 continues to impact our transit system and this additional funding will provide municipalities the support needed to ensure local transit can continue to operate safely and effectively while providing a vital service for those who need it.”
The city estimates it endured more than $14.4 million in lost revenue in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, including an estimated $2.44-million loss in revenue for transit. And the revenue drop is expected to continue well into 2021.
“Transit is an essential part of ensuring that Peterborough is an inclusive, accessible community with a strong economy,” said Mayor Diane Therrien. “COVID-19 has presented many challenges, including adding financial pressure to our transit system. The City of Peterborough would like to thank the provincial government for recognizing the importance of local public transportation and providing additional funding to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Peterborough County Warden J. Murray Jones echoed the sentiment.
“I am pleased to see this additional funding for Peterborough County and our partners at the City of Peterborough, as transit is important to all those who live and work in the County,” he said.
The additional $150 million in provincial funding means that there is a total of $650 million in funding still available to municipalities up to Dec. 31, with extensions to December 2022 granted on a case-by-case basis.
The province says it’s calling on the federal government to match the additional funding announced Monday.