Permanent Transit Funding

Resolution Category Strategic Initiatives B6
Subject Infrastructure
Year 2020
Status Adopted - Expired
Sponsor - Mover
Edmonton, City of
Sponsor - Seconder
St. Albert, City of
Active Clauses

IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the AUMA advocate for the Government of Alberta  to reinstate permanent long-term transit funding that would provide predictable and stable funding so that Alberta municipalities with public transit can maximize the benefits of the strategic investments and contributions from the other orders of government.

Whereas Clauses

WHEREAS Public transit is among the most costly of municipal infrastructure and is beyond the capacity and means of municipalities to plan, design and construct on their own;

WHEREAS Efficient public transit means less congestion, faster commutes, more convenience, higher productivity, improved labour mobility, lower emissions and expanded economic development;

WHEREAS Building modern transit takes decades of continuous planning, design and delivery;

WHEREAS Future public transit network expansion projects will require an ongoing funding commitment by both senior orders of government to enable municipalities to successfully move forward;

WHEREAS Public transit projects create jobs for Albertans in planning, design, construction and operations and drive provincial economic outcomes;

WHEREAS Stable and predictable funding facilitates effective long-term planning and enables cities to confidently advance transit infrastructure priorities that meet the needs of residents and businesses and support the growth and economic prosperity of the province;

WHEREAS There are indications that the Government of Canada plans to invest in public transit infrastructure past 2027, which means matching long-term provincial transit funding is essential to deliver service to Albertans; and

WHEREAS The recently repealed City Charters Fiscal Framework Act provided a model for a long-term transit agreement that would have guaranteed Edmonton and Calgary with the predictable funding required for public transit growth and renewal needs for the long term.

Resolution Background

Building and maintaining public transit networks is an issue for the medium and large cities in Alberta with public transit systems. The scale and scope of these projects is beyond the capabilities of municipalities to plan, design and construct on their own.

The issue of public transit has not been a specific focus for AUMA since it involves only a small number (18) of its members, although those members affected do make up more than two-thirds of Alberta’s population. However, AUMA has advocated for stable and predictable large infrastructure funding, which impacts all Alberta municipalities (example below).

  • Expired Resolution (2016): Municipal Participation in Bilateral Funding Agreements The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association advocate to the federal and provincial government to participate in the development of these important bilateral agreements for the federal infrastructure fund.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has taken strong positions on long term transit funding. FCM has an ongoing advocacy position that the federal government establish a permanent federal funding mechanism to set Canada on a path to 21st century public transit nationwide. By allocating funds directly to transit systems, this mechanism will unlock local expertise—and support the continuous growth of the transit Canadians rely on.

The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) has also been a strong advocate for stable and predictable infrastructure funding from governments. In a letter to the Government of Alberta earlier this year, CUTA spoke up for the interests of those Alberta communities where dependable transit is integral to the local economies: “ongoing, stable funding is essential to maintaining a strong, efficient and resilient transit system.”

Government Response

The Minister of Transportation's response focussed on the province's support  for public transit through the investments made through GreenTRIP, the Edmonton and Calgary LRT projects and the operating funds provided to municipal transit systems through the Safe Restart Agreement. The response went on to indicate that municipalities are free to allocate portions of their MSI funding to public transit if they choose.

Alberta Municipalities notes

Intent not met 

Alberta Municipalities has been advocating for permanent transit funding in our budget submissions and engagements with relevant government ministries. Although this resolution has expired, members have adopted other related transit resolutions and ABmunis Infrastructure committee continues to focus on transit related issues.  ABmunis has also been contributing to engagement sessions on forthcoming federal transit funding programs that are expected to launch in 2026.