Statement by Nate Wallace, Clean Transportation Program Manager, Environmental Defence

Ottawa | Traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg People –The TTC’s budget crisis is not unique. Cities across the country are counting on hundreds of millions of dollars in expected public transit support which must come in the 2023 federal budget – and be matched by provinces. If it doesn’t, public transit systems across the country are at risk of falling into a death spiral. That is a vicious cycle of service cuts and fare hikes that push people away from public transit and into their cars, further decreasing revenue, leading to further service cuts. If this is allowed to happen, it will make cities more congested, increase carbon emissions, and have the greatest impact on society’s most vulnerable. The federal government has saved public transit from disaster before, and it can do it again.

When the TTC responded to operating deficits in the 1990s with service cuts and fare hikes, ridership dramatically declined and took 17 years to recover. If the job of saving public transit is abandoned before ridership can recover from the pandemic, this same story will be repeated in Toronto and in cities across Canada. And all the money spent to date preventing cuts will have been wasted. In a climate emergency, we can’t afford to put progress on hold for another generation.

Issue Backgrounder: 

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Alex Ross, Environmental Defence,