TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 25, 2016) - Public transit in Ontario received a powerful boost today in the budget presented by Minister Charles Sousa and the provincial government. Commitments were seen in both transit innovation and transit funding projects.
Through the Business Growth Initiative, Ontario will directly invest $10 million over four years in the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) to support R&D and the commercialization of technologies.
"This funding bridges a significant gap in the innovation pipeline," says Josipa Petrunic, Executive Director and CEO of CUTRIC. "Ontario can become a world-class testing ground for advanced transit innovations that serve the needs of 21st century mobile citizens." Early-stage projects ready to proceed include electric, fuel cell, autonomous vehicle systems, as well as light-weight materials and data analytics.
The provincial government's strong and continued support for transit is evident in this budget. New details of projects to be funded out of the $31.5 billion Moving Ontario Forward plan were also outlined in the document. Projects outside the GTHA include extension of GO Rail service to Niagara, and a commitment to cost-share the capital cost of municipal transit projects such as London rapid transit and Phase 2 of the Ottawa LRT project.
The budget further confirms that proceeds from cap-and-trade projects will be used to invest in public transit - a key recommendation in the OPTA-CUTA pre-budget submission. "We're pleased to see that transit is a priority investment in the plan to reduce greenhouse gases," says Karen Cameron, CEO of the Ontario Public Transit Association (OPTA).
"We're happy to see the ongoing focus on transit in Ontario, today's innovation funding announcement for CUTRIC is an important milestone in furthering Canada as a leader in transit innovation," says Patrick Leclerc, President and CEO of Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA). "In addition to commitments made in last year's budget we're also encouraged to see that transit is a category that will benefit from the proposed cap-and-trade system."
This transit-friendly budget is indeed a budget that is good for Ontarians and for economic growth in the province.
About OPTA (www.ontariopublictransit.ca)
OPTA is the provincial association representing public transit systems, health and social service agency transportation providers, suppliers to the industry, and government representatives.
About CUTRIC (www.cutric-crituc.org)
CUTRIC is an industry-led innovation consortium dedicated to the generation of industry-academic collaborative R&D projects in transit, transportation and integrated mobility across Canada. CUTRIC focuses on zero- and low-emissions powertrain technologies, light-weight materials development, autonomous vehicle systems, and Big Data analytics solutions.
About CUTA (www.cutaactu.ca)
CUTA is the national association representing public transit systems, suppliers to the industry, government agencies, individuals and related organizations in Canada.