Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium
Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium
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CUTRIC’s response to the Canadian Federal Budget 2024

The Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) welcomes the continued commitment to sustainable transportation in the Canadian Federal Budget 2024. 

CUTRIC knows the timeline to achieve public transit decarbonization goals (5,000 zero emissions buses (ZEBs) by 2025-2026) is aggressive. To meet this timeline: 

 

  1. CUTRIC encourages the Government of Canada to extend the deadline for the Zero Emissions Transit Fund (ZETF), $2.75 Billion (which is recommitted in Budget 2024) to allow more agencies to leverage funding for critical infrastructure procurements already in process. Without this extension, dozens of transit agencies will be stuck with procurements that they will not be able to afford by March 2026.

     

  2. CUTRIC encourages the Government of Canada to pre-approve ZETF projects in the “pipeline” of ZETF capital funding prior to an election in the upcoming year to avoid upending decarbonization plans among transit agencies nationally, which will be amplified by any delay to the launch of the Permanent Public Transit Fund (PPTF). Further to this, CUTRIC continues to recommend an extension and expansion of the ZETF to cover the transition period through to 2026, and to ensure a seamless transition into the PPTF.

     

  3. CUTRIC encourages the Government of Canada to extend the non-profit Zero Emissions Public Transit Fund (ZETF) Feasibility and Implementation Programming, which is set to expire in 2025, but which has helped more than two dozen agencies save more than $2 Billion in taxpayer-funded zero emissions bus and infrastructure procurements so far.

  4. CUTRIC encourages the Government of Canada to support manufacturing financial timelines as part of its commitment to zero emissions and permanent public transit funding by encouraging transit agencies to adopt installment payment mechanisms that allow bus and charging system manufacturers to avoid financial collapse due to (current) extended payment terms common in Canadian municipal jurisdictions.

“We applaud the government’s steps towards a sustainable transit ecosystem, but the journey doesn’t stop here,” said Josipa Petrunic, President & CEO, CUTRIC. “To transform Canada into a leader in zero emissions transportation requires us to accelerate zero emissions transit projects during this period of global supply chain disruption, 30 per cent price inflation in some cases, and elongated delivery schedules. We implore the government to recognize all ZETF projects caught in the pipeline in December 2025, and link the Zero Emissions Transit Fund to Permanent Public Transit Fund to enable a seamless transition to a decarbonized fleet with as few funding delays as possible.”

CUTRIC also commends the Federal Government’s dedication to enhancing existing rail networks nationwide. New funding for VIA Rail network operations and funding to replace its aging fleet outside the Quebec City-Windsor corridor are welcome. Renewing the Remote Passenger Rail Program, which supports Indigenous-owned rail operators providing services to communities in Manitoba, Quebec, and Labrador, is vital as well.

However, CUTRIC emphasizes focusing on rail innovation. 

  1. CUTRIC encourages the Government of Canada to increase research and strategic planning in the rail industry to propel rail technology forward and provide consumer-focused, inclusive rail services throughout Canada. These investments will enhance environmental sustainability, promote fairness in mobility and provide economic prosperity for communities connected by rail services.

CUTRIC stands ready to work with the government to refine these strategies and secure Canada’s position as a leader in sustainable transportation. By reinforcing budgetary commitments and addressing the timing of fund disbursement, together we can achieve a seamless transition to green transit solutions that benefit Canadians.