Following the adoption of the 2014 budget, the STM board of directors today presented the highlights of a 1.3 billion dollar budget that mirrors the difficult budgetary situation prevalent throughout Québec and Montréal, and which is putting downward pressure on STM revenues.
Montréal, January 29, 2014 – Following the adoption of the 2014 budget, the STM board of directors today presented the highlights of a 1.3 billion dollar budget that mirrors the difficult budgetary situation prevalent throughout Québec and Montréal, and which is putting downward pressure on STM revenues.
« For the STM, such an austerity budget is evidence of the bleak state of public finances that forced it to once again conduct an in-depth review of its activities. Indeed, those additional efforts made it possible to table a budget only 0.6% higher than last year’s, the smallest increase in 14 years. Despite the financial challenges facing us with debt servicing as well as with the investment deficit, transit users are still the STM’s main focus, and several major projects will still be carried out in the coming year. These include the roll-out of information in real-time with iBus, the Stinson bus garage becoming operational as it aims for LEED Gold certification, the deployment of a mobile network in many downtown métro stations and of Métrovision display screens, as well as the delivery of the AZUR train prototype, expected in a few weeks, » explained board chairman, Philippe Schnobb.
Service offer adjusted
The implemented measures include efforts to downsize administrative activities and optimize bus service, which resulted in a 3.1% overall decrease in hours of bus service during off-peak periods. Furthermore, the métro system will maintain its current maximum offer of service, at 78.1 million kilometres of planned passenger service. As for paratransit, service will increase by 4.2% over 2013, to reach 3.4 million passenger rides. That level of service more than doubles the number of rides provided in 2005 and aims to meet growing demand by disabled customers, despite Québec government funding levelling off.
Funding of public transportation
To present a balanced budget, this year the STM again made considerable efforts that led to cutting back 65 million dollars. While waiting for financial agreements to be reached with its partners, the STM is still expecting a 20 million dollar shortfall, further evidence of public transit’s funding problems. The rising costs associated with asset replacement and its impact on the STM’s net debt servicing, as well as a weaker than expected growth in autonomous revenues and revenues from its partners, like the MTQ, Montréal agglomeration and CMM, are a few of the underlying reasons for this situation.
In 2014, the contribution by the Montréal agglomeration is set to increase by 12.5 million dollars, 3.2% higher than last year. Since January 1, 2014, the STM enjoys a 62.8% refund of the Québec sales tax paid on purchased goods and services, or some 16.3 million dollars. As a result, the city adjusted its contribution base to take that amount into account. The impact of both measures brings the contribution by the Montréal agglomeration to 384.1 million dollars for 2014, in addition to 16.7 million dollars from SOFIL, for a total of 400.8 million dollars.
« The financial picture reminds us of the urgent need to find a new source of dedicated, indexed and recurrent funding for public transportation. In that sense, the upcoming adoption of a Sustainable Mobility Policy by the Québec government would be a step in the right direction. Moreover, the STM is decidedly looking to the future, with the deployment of bus preferential measures along 370 kilometres by 2020 and the electrification of its surface network. Indeed, given the government’s priority, we will continue to play a key role by further testing various electric vehicles with our partners, and taking further steps to become the first city in North America to take part in the Volvo Group City Mobility program, » added Mr. Schnobb.
Messrs. Schnobb and Rotrand are available for interviews.
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Directrice principale – Affaires publiques
Société de transport de Montréal (STM)
Téléphone : (514) 280-5645