Alberta Mirror

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Edmonton searches for alternative funding sources to conduct public transit

Alberta

Key takeaways: 

  • City functions suggest levies on parking and cars could induce income.
  • Edmonton Transit Service depends mainly on property taxes and passenger fares to support its operations.

Edmonton will begin looking outside the conventional income box to help pay for a public transit system struggling to see new riders over the previous few years. 

Council decided Tuesday that the city administration should probe different ways to develop earnings, summarized in a report to the council by the city operations branch. 

Options comprise:

  • Executing community revitalization levies.
  • Parking costs.
  • Car registration fees.
  • Following an agreement to get a part of the regional government’s motor fuel tax. 

The report says that Edmonton Transit Service depends mainly on property tax and transit fares, strained sources of income. 

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi stated it’s time to branch out from conventional earnings sources. 

“We cannot continue to depend on property taxes to make the conditions required for us to move that mode of transportation,” Sohi spoke at the council meeting. 

Read more: ATCO Electric decides to pay a $31 million fine following regulator’s inquiry

Edmonton will begin looking outside the conventional income box to help pay for a public transit system

Make transit attractive

Despite the goal of earning revenues from vehicle-related activities like parking and registration fees, Coun. Aaron Paquette stated he doesn’t believe the plan is to prevent people from driving. 

“What it is regarding is making transit more attractive — to finance transit properly,” Paquette said. “It’s time to update how we subsidize our system to step up with the reality of what other cities are doing.” 

Paquette stated that more people take transit means fewer cars on the roads, slashing back commute times and headaches. 

City managers have noted that over the previous two years, ridership on ETS fell to almost half compared to before the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“The pandemic has shown us the necessity for safe, predictable, regular funding,” Paquette said. “So there’s no better time to begin exploring those things.”

Source – cbc.ca

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