Cycling funding program for municipalities cancelled by province
A program that took money from the province’s cancelled cap and trade program and filtered it toward cycling infrastructure will be no more.
The Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling (OMCC) program has been cancelled and no further funding will be issued by the province, according to the executive director of the Share the Road Cycling Coalition.
“This is not surprising,” said Jamie Stuckless of the cycling coalition. “The new government was very clear on their intentions to cancel cap and trade throughout the election; however, it is still disappointing to see the official announcement.”
Windsor received $1,671,508 through the first roll out last year, which spread $93 million to communities across the province.
Windsor chief administration officer Onorio Colucci says some of that money is already been spent on bicycling infrastructure on Pillette Road. "Other work will be undertaken in time to use teh funds by the deadline," Colucci said.
Essex, Kingsville, Lakeshore, Leamington and Tecumseh saw an injection of $1,194,693 of funding, which was expected to be spent on commuter cycling infrastructure.
Chatham-Kent also received $755,203 as part of the provincial government’s decision.
Stuckless says the initial investment resulted in new and improved cycling facilities and bicycle master plans across 118 municipalities. She notes communities have until December 2020 to complete their planned projects under the program, but no new funding will be made available.
Stuckless calls the money already released a “game changer” for cycling in Ontario in 2017.
“It was supposed to be one of several investments that would see up to $225 million for cycling infrastructure over four years,” she said. “We will not see the full $225 million investment under OMCC, however, we are committed to working with the new government to make investments in safe cycling.”
Stuckless suggests cycling advocates reach out to their local MPP and let them know that provincial support for cycling matters.