November 04 TORONTO, ONTARIO – Joined by a crowd of supporters, Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Kate Graham held a campaign rally this evening in Toronto. The event marked her second of three rallies planned during a three week tour across Ontario.
At the event, she announced her Affordable Green Transit plan, which would bring major investments into expanded, carbon-neutral public transit. Graham’s proposal would triple the current provincial transfer to municipalities for public transit, providing an additional $2.5 billion over four years to municipalities to electrify and expand public transit infrastructure. The plan requires municipalities to have carbon-neutral transit fleets by 2040, and would also invest in expanding public GO-like transit access to underserved communities.
“After housing, transportation is the largest household cost facing Ontarians, “ said Graham. “Transportation also generates more emissions than almost any other sector. I hear it from people all the time- we need more public transit, and we need cleaner public transit.”
Graham’s plan will improve the quality of life for today’s commuters currently spending way too much time and money getting where they need to go, as well as improve the quality of life for future Ontarians through cleaner air, cheaper fares, and increased connectivity.
Kate Graham launched her leadership bid in September and spent the first seven weeks of her province-wide tour listening to Ontarians. As a result of what she heard, she decided to make improving Ontarians’ wellbeing the primary focus of her campaign.
“Improving transit is fundamentally connected to improving Ontarians’ wellbeing and making their day-to-day lives easier,” said Graham. “By making these investments we can make transit more affordable, increase convenience and access to communities that need it, all while reducing our carbon footprint.”
5 Point Plan for Affordable Green Transit:
1. Triple the provincial transfer to municipal public transit by increasing the Ontario Gas Tax Fund transfer from 2 cents to 6 cents a litre. When fully phased in, this would provide municipal transit services with an additional $800 million per year for public transit expansion and electrification. Funding will be at the rate of 4 cents a litre in 2022-23, rising to 5 cents in 2023-24 and then 6 cents in 2024.
2. Develop a set of targets, in collaboration with municipalities, for every municipal transit system to be carbon neutral.
3. Provide an additional $30 million over 4 years to the Community Transportation Grant Program for zero-emission buses and charging infrastructure in areas that are underserved by public transit.
4. Work with Metrolinx to significantly expand GO Bus service, using zero-emission vehicles, to more communities in the province, to provide more Ontarians with affordable intercity transit options.
5. Recognizing that small, rural and northern communities also need funding for critical transportation projects, increase the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund by $100 million annually.
Quick Facts About the Kate Graham campaign:
• Graham has received donations from nearly 300 people to her campaign, and has the third highest fundraising total of all campaigns. Over 70% of donors have given $100 or less.
• Last week, Graham announced her plan to shape her candidacy around improving Ontarian’s well-being. A policy focus on well-being has been championed by other progressive governments around the world, including New Zealand and Iceland, and Graham wants to bring a made-in-Ontario approach to Queens Park.
• Graham has outlined four priority areas of well-being her campaign will focus on: empowering Ontarians where they live, making life more affordable, creating better jobs, and making Ontario carbon-neutral.