On transit: McKenney will invest, Sutcliffe will cut

A top issue for voters, Catherine McKenney says they will invest in transit rather than make cuts.

A CTV-Nanos poll shows that public transit is the top issue for Ottawa voters. That makes sense. Right now, we pay some of the most expensive fares in the country to use a transit system we can’t depend on. 

Catherine McKenney knows that Ottawa needs reliable and affordable transit. And they have a plan to invest in transit to make it better for you. 

Mark Sutcliffe on the other hand, is not planning to invest a single penny in additional funding to fix transit. In fact, he will likely end up cutting OC Transpo’s budget, as he is making $80 million in cuts to the City of Ottawa budget.

Here is Sutcliffe’s plan for cuts: 

New properties are estimated to generate about $40 million in 2023 (a 2 per cent growth rate similar to recent years). This amount is typically spread across departmental budgets for “growth” costs. This plan takes a different approach, investing some of the additional revenue in policing and in areas where the incremental growth costs can be clearly demonstrated, such as new roads and parks. The remaining $20 million will be used to offset budget pressures. Source: Sutcliffe’s financial statement

Now what does this mean? Funding that’s been earmarked for growing communities will also be cut — and redirected to fund more police in the ByWard Market.

Excluding Ottawa Police Services, transit represents about 17.6% of the City’s gross operating budget. If OC Transpo faces 17.6% of Sutcliffe’s proposed $80 million in cuts, then it will see a $3.5 million reduction in its budget in 2023, which would add up to approximately $14 million in cuts over four years. 

Sutcliffe also plans to cut millions through staff reductions — further straining the City’s ability to deliver the services you rely on. If your bus already doesn’t show up on time and there’s a vacant driver position - that won’t change. And it will get worse.

These cuts will cause even worse service when you want to ride the bus, Para Transpo, or LRT. If it sounds hard to trust Mark to fix transit, it’s because it is.

“It’s time to fix transit and make it more reliable — not to cut transit,” said McKenney. “I’ll fix transit and make it more affordable."

Catherine McKenney will initiate a review of the entire route system to ensure transit is serving communities across the city in the most efficient and effective way. McKenney will improve transit reliability by increasing operations by 20% within four years – They will freeze transit fares for four years. They will introduce free transit for youth 17-and-under. And they will make EquiPass more affordable for low-income residents.

And all of this will be covered by a 3% tax approach similar to the previous term of council, as outlined in our financial plan. That’s why Catherine McKenney’s transit plan just makes sense. 

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Catherine McKenney is running for Mayor to make Ottawa the greenest, healthiest, and most connected city in Canada. For more information visit mckenney2022.ca

Media contact:

Heather Badenoch via [email protected] or 613-518-3170.

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