Kevin Anderson/with files

KAPUSKASING – Last week Jeff Yurek, Minister of Transportation announced that the Ontario government is helping 107 municipalities across the province expand or improve their public transit systems with Ontario’s gas tax program. 

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

This year, the province is giving $364 million in gas tax funding to 107 municipalities that provide public transit service to 144 communities across Ontario. These communities represent over 92 per cent of Ontario’s total population.

Funding for Ontario’s gas tax program is determined by the number of litres of gasoline sold in the province. The program provides municipalities with two cents per litre of provincial gas tax revenues. Municipalities receiving gas tax funding must use these funds towards their public transit capital and/or operating expenditures, at their own discretion, including upgrading transit infrastructure, increasing accessibility, purchasing transit vehicles, adding more routes and extending hours of service.

In Kapuskasing, the funds will be used for the purchase of a new accessible bus.

“We’re always happy to receive infrastructure funding, especially in a case such as this, which allows us to provide such a valuable service to our citizens,” said Kapuskasing Mayor David Plourde.

Hearst Mayor Roger Sigouin echoed Plourde, saying his municipality will likewise be using the funding for the continued operation of an accessible bus service.

“It always helps to get infrastructure money,” said Sigouin. “Like other municipalities we are preparing our budget and also like other municipalities times are tight, so this money will be a great help.”