Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program Officially Cancelled
by Jamie Stuckless, Executive Director, Share the Road Cycling Coalition
This week, communities across Ontario received notice from the Ministry of Transportation that the Ontario Municipal Commuter Program (OMCC) has been cancelled. The OMCC was funded through the cap and trade program, which has also been cancelled. This is not surprising. 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.
Through the OMCC, Ontario invested $93 million in cycling infrastructure. This investment will result in new and improved cycling facilities and Bicycle Master Plans across 118 municipalities and communities have until December 2020 to complete their planned projects under the program. However, there will be no new funding through OMCC moving forward.
The $93 million announcement was a game changer for cycling in Ontario in December 2017. It was supposed to be one of several investments that would see up to $225 million for cycling infrastructure over 4 years. 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.
This work is already underway. Are you part of it?
Since the election, we have been encouraging cycling supporters (like you!) to reach out to their new or re-elected MPPs. The objective of this outreach is to:
- congratulate them & build relationships, and;
- let them know that provincial support for cycling matters to you and to people in their riding.
A sample template email is included in this post below.
We know from our polling and from research that there is support for investing in cycling as a way to build healthy communities where residents have access to affordable & safe transportation and recreation choices. Helping people cycle more often is also a way to reduce congestion by getting more people moving more efficiently on our roads. When people cycle, they also invest in the Ontario economy by shopping local and participating in cycle tourism. And cycling connections will help to further leverage planned investments in transit by making it fast & convenient for people to connect to bus stops, subways and train stations.
As it stands today, our new government did not have cycling in their election platform and Ontario’s primary source of cycling infrastructure funding (OMCC) was just cancelled. But this doesn’t have to be our story for the next 4 years. There are many individual and community benefits to investing in cycling, and we need you to help us make that case. Let’s make sure that our elected officials know that there is support for cycling among residents, that investments in cycling will contribute to provincial objectives for a more affordable Ontario and that they have enthusiastic cycling partners to work with in their riding.
You can be that positive voice & partner for cycling. Reach out to your MPP today and cc Share the Road (email@example.com).
We look forward to working with you and all of our representatives at Queen’s Park to continue our work to build a more bicycle-friendly Ontario.
Sample letter template (please personalize and cc firstname.lastname@example.org):
MPP (last name),
Congratulations on your successful (re-)election as the MPP for (riding name). My name is (full name) and I am a resident in your community. I am also a member of (local cycling organization if applicable) and a supporter of the provincial Share the Road Cycling Coalition.
We have been working to build a more bicycle-friendly (community name) and have seen some recent successes, including (share if your community has a bicycle-friendly community award, built a new bike lane, received OMCC funding, hosted a Bike Month event, etc). Road safety and the choice to get around by bicycle are important issues for me and the province plays a key role in ensuring our roads and communities are safe for everyone, including people on bikes. I look forward to working with you to leverage the opportunities that exist for cycling in our community.
I would like to coordinate a small bike ride with you and a few cycling leaders from the riding (or invite them to participate in an existing cycling event or activity) and will touch base again in a few weeks to arrange the details with your team. Until then, please do not hesitate to reach out with questions.
Regards & thanks,
Not sure who your MPP is? Check out this website: https://www.ola.org/en/members/current