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Gas-tax cash will be pumped into city transit system

City of Barrie's allotment pegged at just under $2.3 million
2018-05-22 Barrie bus RB
Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday

Every penny spent at the pump by motorists should make a difference to those who rely on public transit. 

Municipalities were informed this week of their portion of provincial gas-tax funding, with the City of Barrie being allocated almost $2.3 million. 

Two cents from every litre goes toward the funding and the money helps municipalities "expand and improve" their public transit systems. 

Barrie Transit has grown from approximately 2.5 million riders over the last three years to over three million riders in 2018, and ridership is expected to expand even more in 2019, said Brent Forsyth, the city's transit and parking director.

One of the "major drivers for the ridership growth," Forsyth said, was the universal transit pass, or U-Pass, which began in September 2018 through a partnership with Georgian College. Another growth factor was the introduction of the city's first express route, also know as Route 100 or the Georgian Express.

"In comparison to the same time period from 2017, the transit service across the city has increased by approximately 36 per cent," he added. 

So with all of the growth that is already happening with the local transit system, additional funding can always help. 

"The Ontario gas-tax funding is extremely important to the City of Barrie, as it provides the transit system with additional funding to allow the system to grow and mature further," Forsyth said. 

Most of the funding has been directed to annual transit operations, Forsyth said, "allowing for enhanced service frequency and coverage throughout the entire system as well as investing in the necessary infrastructure improvements."

Provincewide, the $364 million in funding will be spread across more than 100 municipalities.

“This is an important investment for the City of Barrie that will ensure our residents always have convenient and reliable public transit," Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MPP Doug Downey said in a news release.

According to Trevor Wilcox, general manager of the County of Simcoe, the county will be receiving $900,000 for their LINX transit system.

The Town of Innisfil receives just shy of $320,000. 

“I welcome this investment to the Town of Innisfil," said Barrie-Innisfil MPP Andrea Khanjin in a shared news release with Downey, her Progressive Conservative colleague. "This commitment allows for the continued funding of municipal transit services in our
community to provide more convenient travel options.”


Raymond Bowe

About the Author: Raymond Bowe

Raymond is an award-winning journalist who has been reporting from Simcoe County since 2000
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