Attn: The Rt. Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
CC: The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
RE: Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium Urges the Federal Government to Commit $3 Billion More Annually for Public Transit Infrastructure in the Fall Economic Statement to Build a Better Canada
To the Rt. Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada –
Canada is at a crossroads as it charts its recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic, and while it may never look the same, through deliberate and strategic investments we can build it into the country we have always aspired to.
Your government knows that, and we have been proud to work with you and your capable Cabinet Ministers to deliver low-carbon technology innovation transit projects that support Canadians in cities while creating jobs and economic prosperity, connecting communities and improving the environment by reducing emissions.
The Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC), responsible for the development and commercialization of technologies required for a 21st century low-carbon green economy, was pleased to see your party’s 2019 federal election platform affirm the importance of public transit for Canadians and commit to making federal infrastructure investments stable and predictable to meet cities’ needs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that public transit is at the centre of our society – and that our systems require accelerated federal investment to be resilient and meet the mobility needs of Canadians.
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In your government’s Speech from the Throne, you committed to building a stronger and more resilient Canada through an inclusive recovery. CUTRIC’s members, including transit agencies, advanced manufacturers, utilities, government agencies, academics and not-for-profits, welcomed this ambition, because we share your vision of a cleaner, better Canada. We are eager to work together to achieve it and recently published CUTRIC a Five Point Plan for building back better transit, outlining what is required to do in order to get there. Public transit is at the heart of an inclusive recovery, and we must prioritize measures that will build the public transit systems Canada needs now, and in the future. A big, bold vision such as the one your government presented can only be realized with appropriate amounts of investment to get it done. As your government determines the path forward to implementing these promises and making your vision a reality, now is the opportunity to make the investments necessary to achieve your objectives and support Canadians that desperately need relief.
That is why CUTRIC is urging the Government of Canada to commit to an additional $3 billion more per year as part of a stable, predictable funding stream for public transit infrastructure to build a better Canada in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement.
Investing in public transit will support Canadians throughout the pandemic, position Canada for recovery, and transform our society for a cleaner, better future. A portion of additional public transit infrastructure funding should be tied to zero-emissions technology if the federal government would like to achieve its target of 5,000 zero emissions buses by 2025. We must act quickly and remain focused on the right types of public projects that will advance our economic, social, and climate objectives.
If the federal commitment to public transit is made permanent, CUTRIC and its members can:
- Create Jobs and Economic Prosperity: $3 billion invested into transit infrastructure projects — especially green infrastructure innovation — could result in retaining up to approximately 792,000 direct full-time and part-time jobs in transit, utility and zero-emission buses manufacturing industries. The industry for producing these vehicles and allied charging and hydrogen fuelling equipment is in Canada already.
- Improve the Environment: zero-emission buses, among other innovative technologies, are low-carbon and with increased availability, will divert Canadians from modes of transportation that rely on carbon combustion and reduce congestion in our cities.
- Better Connect Our Communities: through the pandemic, Canadians relied on public transit even amidst lockdown measures. It was there for those who needed it and made sure our essential workers made it to the frontlines to support Canadians in need.
I want to thank you personally for your partnership to date. I write to you because I know we can achieve much more together, as Canadians expect from us as we chart our path forward to a transformed Canada following the COVID-19 pandemic. CUTRIC and its members are ready and willing to launch cutting-edge, clean public transit projects that will transform our society for the better – but we need more of your leadership to continue to build on our momentum.
Dr. Josipa Petrunic
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium
With support from our membership including: