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Province backtracks, will continue to fund low-income transit pass program in Calgary, Edmonton


A day after Calgary's mayor called the Alberta government's decision to pull its funding for the low-income transit pass program "cruel," the province is reversing its decision.

The cities of Calgary and Edmonton were informed earlier this week that an annual provincial grant to help cover some of its transit subsidy program would be discontinued.

In Calgary, the amount was $6.2 million yearly.

“Following conversations with the two largest cities, it is clear that the cities are not able to pay for their full programs at this time,” Jason Nixon, the minister of seniors, community and social services, said in a statement.

“As a result, Alberta’s government will continue to extend this funding to the cities and work with them to ensure their low-income transit program continues to be funded in the future.”

The Low-Income Transit Pass (LITP) program was launched in Calgary in 2005 and has been funded in part by the Alberta government since 2017. It establishes a sliding scale for people to receive discounted monthly transit passes based on income.

According to city officials, more than 119,000 low-income passes were issued in Calgary this year already – a 35 per cent jump since last year.

Calgary already funds more than 80 per cent of its LITP program, which totals about $38 million per year.

Calgary councillors spent Tuesday night discussing ways to come up with the province's $6.2 million contribution.

They unanimously voted in favour of an attempt to recoup the funding loss by requesting that the Alberta government decrease its property tax requisition for the year by that amount.

In a statement, the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) said it is pleased with the province’s plan to continue with the low-income transit pass program.

“This critical program enables tens of thousands of residents to access affordable transportation, which connects them to employment, education, and vital services,” the statement reads.

“We are grateful that the government heard our concerns and those of communities in Calgary and Edmonton.” Top Stories

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