Mississauga mayor in Ottawa to push for more money for transit as pandemic recovery continues

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Published October 13, 2021 at 12:04 pm

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Mayor Bonnie Crombie is in Ottawa today to continue pushing provincial and federal governments for money to keep the buses running and businesses open in Mississauga. 

Crombie and some of her counterparts from across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) are among those in the nation’s capital for the Big City Mayors Caucus meeting, which welcomes municipal leaders from across Canada. 

Crombie and other mayors are taking the opportunity to press both provincial and federal governments for continued support in 2022 as municipalities, and their small- and medium-sized businesses, recover from the devastating financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A joint statement from the GTHA Mayors and Chairs notes that as Mississauga and other municipalities look ahead to 2022 budgets, they’re forecasting pandemic-related challenges similar to those that presented themselves this past year, particularly significantly reduced transit ridership. 

In Mississauga, Crombie said earlier that MiWay has been dealing with monthly losses of about $7 million. Furthermore, it has seen ridership on its buses plummet by more than half since the pandemic struck last year.  

And officials with Mississauga’s public transit provider say the numbers will remain unsteady throughout the fall as recovery continues. In fact, they add, transit ridership in Mississauga and across southern Ontario is expected to return over the course of years, not months. 

Provincial and federal governments have already been helping municipalities keep their transit buses running, but Crombie and others want to ensure the money keeps flowing as transit ridership will take a number of years to rebound. 

“Throughout the pandemic and with the support of other governments, municipalities have invested emergency funding in much-needed services that were crucial to the effort to fight COVID-19 including public health, housing and homelessness, and support for residents and businesses,” the joint statement reads. “At the same time, we have worked to keep all frontline municipal services, including our transit systems, operating. This continued delivery of essential services will be needed as we finish delivering the largest vaccination effort in Canadian history and work to make sure the economy comes back stronger than ever. The continued financial support of the other governments is more crucial than ever in allowing us to continue this work.” 

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