Last May the province put a bill before the legislature to end legislation guaranteeing provincial funding for municipal transit agencies in Manitoba. This funding guarantee has been in place in Manitoba since the 1970s and is key to transit funding in Winnipeg. The province provides $50 million presently to our transit agency which amounts to just under one quarter of Winnipeg Transit’s budget.
Public transit is critical to reducing the carbon footprint of Winnipeggers, providing mobility to individuals and families who cannot afford other means of transportation and to reducing the toll on our crumbling infrastructure. Public transit is an efficient, economical and pleasant way to get around the city when properly funded.
Bill 36 was put before the legislature last spring and it will go to second and third reading in October. Section 88(8) repeals the portion of the Municipal Taxation and Funding Act that guarantees funding for municipal transit agencies. We are seeking to have this section removed from the legislation.
Functional Transit Winnipeg has a plan for addressing this issue. We are getting petition signatures (unfortunately the province does not presently accept online petitions), we have created a form email available on our website for Manitobans to send to their MLAs. We will be sending op-eds to be printed in publications around the province.
Functional Transit Winnipeg has been advocating for frequent, accessible and affordable transit since 2014. Most recently, we partnered with several organizations to bring Portland-based transit expert Jarrett Walker to Winnipeg. We followed up Mr. Walker’s visit with successfully petitioning City Hall to pass a motion to look into creating a frequent service network in Winnipeg.
If you are interested in this campaign and would like to help, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org . We are holding a special public meeting to discuss this campaign on August 31 at the St. Boniface Library at 131 Provencher Avenue. We would love to see you there!