Increasing and Adjusting Funding for Transit for the Disabled
Be it resolved that SUMA request an increase in the level of funding available through the Municipal Transit Assistance for People with Disabilities (TFD) Program, including for bus purchases, and an amendment to the operating funding formula to consider productivity measures such as the number of revenue trips per hour delivered and the physical characteristics and size of each community, rather than just the number of trips delivered.
The current budget for the Municipal Transit for People with Disabilities Program (TFD) is $2,650,000 ($2,370,000 for operating grants and $275,000 for capital grants). Any increase to the budget will be determined in the provincial budget process in the context of other requests for increased funding from municipalities (Revenue Sharing, infrastructure) and requests for funding increases from other sectors. The current operating grant formula was developed jointly with the 13 cities and SUMA. All parties agreed to the new formula and that it would be phased in over four years to give municipalities time to adjust to the new formula and the changes in their grants that would result. When the new formula was developed, it was generally agreed that the number of trips provided was the most appropriate and readily available performance indicator. The per trip amounts increase as the size of the community increases to take into account longer trips, higher operating costs and other factors which increase costs with community size. Government Relations committed to consider other performance indicators that might be brought forward by municipalities and to implement them, as long as there is general agreement and municipalities are prepared to provide the necessary information. The current suggestions are the first that have been brought forward. Municipalities do have other options available, besides the TFD program, when looking to access capital funding for TFD vehicles. In addition, it is anticipated that the impending agreement regarding Federal public transit funds may support capital purchases.