• 2014 09 19 Steeves BRT web

    Bus Rapid Transit Phase 2 not worth the risk

    Neither Bowman, Wasylycia-Leis can show how they will actually pay for BRT plans

    Gord Steeves called on candidates in Winnipeg city council campaigns today to join him in stopping Phase 2 of Bus Rapid Transit. Today, Steeves mailed letters to all council candidates to seek their support to cancel Phase 2 of BRT, and work with him to develop a rapid transit plan which makes sense.

    “I can not support Phase 2 of BRT because there is no funding to completely cover the current proposal cost at $600 million, or the higher estimate of $800 million,” Steeves said. “This will be the largest potential expenditure of tax dollars in the city’s history, so I won’t stop asking Judy Wasylycia-Leis and Brian Bowman to show how they will pay for their BRT plans. They haven’t been honest with voters on this issue.”

    Bowman’s proposal to complete three phases of BRT by 2030 will cost between $2 billion and $3 billion, as well as two more BRT phases at a cost of $3 billion to $4 billion. He would have to raise property taxes between 30 and 35 percent to cover the $60 to $70 million required each year to cover those costs. He has not said how he will find that money.

    Under heavy media scrutiny on Sept. 4, Wasylycia-Leis could not answer the $20 million per year question: How would she pay for BRT? She instead referred to Winnipeg as, “an embarrassing city”, and pledged a 12 percent property tax increase, which does not actually include the five percent property tax hike needed to cover the BRT borrowing costs.

    Both Wasylycia-Leis’s inability to explain how she will pay for BRT and Bowman’s billion-dollar BRT boondoggle bear dangerous resemblances to the tax and spend Greg Selinger NDP provincial government. It’s clear with Wasylycia-Leis and Bowman, the only guarantees they can offer are debt and taxes.

    Winnipeg’s Oct. 22 election represents a referendum on Bus Rapid Transit. Gord Steeves stands with voters who oppose wasteful spending on a Bus Rapid Transit Phase 2 plan because it does not make sense.

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