Federal government eliminates transit tax credit in latest budget

Mar 29 2017, 12:21 am

Metro Vancouver’s public transit authority says it is concerned about the federal government’s recent decision to eliminate its public transit tax credit.

Last week, the federal government released its latest budget, which consisted of a $2.2 billion investment towards new transit infrastructure in the region such as the underground extension of the Millennium Line on Broadway and the new light rail transit system in Surrey.

However, the announcement was accompanied by the loss of the rebate program, which provides rebates of $163.80 for $91 one-zone monthly passes, $223.20 for $124 two-zone passes, and $306.00 for $170 three-zone passes.

“We are concerned about the impact the elimination of the transit tax credit could have on some of our customers and we plan to study the effects more,” TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews told Daily Hive. “Monthly passes are used on two-thirds of the journeys on our system and these customers have been eligible for this tax credit.”

However, Drews also notes that monthly pass holders are the least likely group to stop using transit.

“Taking away this tax credit is going to have an impact on many of them but at the same time, it may not affect their travel choices,” she said.

Ridership reached a record on TransLink’s transit services last year, a 4.5% increase over 2015.

The federal transit tax credit came into effect in 2006, allowing monthly pass holders to save 15% on their annual monthly costs of attaining the pass.

Over the next 11 years, the federal government plans to invest $20.1 billion towards new public transit projects across the country.

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