Statement from Mark Sutcliffe on the $85M Projected OC Transpo Deficit Tabled at Transit Commission

“This deficit is troubling news for Ottawa residents when there are already significant concerns about city finances and the costs of public transit. The shortfall in ridership fares should have been better anticipated in the budgeting process.

In addition, city leadership, including the current council, should have negotiated much sooner with the federal and provincial governments to secure emergency funding. Instead, we are now facing a shortfall with no clear path to obtaining that support.

Public transit in Ottawa is already facing a crisis in confidence, with passengers worried their train or bus won’t be on time or, in some cases, show up at all. There are near-empty buses and trains because the city hasn’t taken the steps to overhaul the service in response to new ridership patterns as a result of COVID.

If I’m elected Mayor, I will immediately negotiate with the federal and provincial governments to ensure Ottawa receives its share of emergency funding to support public transit. And I won’t create even bigger deficits with fare-free transit and a 20% increase in buses without a proper review of the system.

We need to start by restoring confidence in OC Transpo by improving the reliability of our trains and buses, rather than make expensive promises that will only add to our fiscal challenges.”

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