No to Rapid Transit Phase 2
Steeves will shelve Phase 2 of Bus Rapid Transit
Parker Lands plan adds $ 100 million to cost, but will not produce results for taxpayers
Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves said he will stop Phase 2 of the Parker Lands Bus Rapid Transit plan if elected mayor.
“My vision for the city is to ensure a rapid transit plan which not only offers the most direct route, but also enhances the developments already on Pembina Highway,” Steeves said. “A BRT route through the Parker Lands does not accomplish either of these goals. This BRT line is Winnipeg’s BiPole 3.”
Steeves said there is no reason to have a referendum on cancelling Phase 2 of the BRT plan. With Steeves the only candidate committed to cancelling Phase 2 through the Parker Lands, the Oct. 22 municipal election will serve as that referendum.
“Using the Parker Lands for rapid transit causes more harm than good,” Steeves said. “Not only does it cost $100 million more, but it also means people along Pembina Highway from Jubilee Boulevard to Bishop Grandin Boulevard would be better off taking a regular bus to connect to the Phase 1 of BRT.”
Spending $600 million to save only a few minutes in transit time is not an effective use of taxpayer dollars and does not improve transit service. The city’s share of the BRT costs will result in at least $221 million in debt. That works out to $600 per person in addition to the city’s current debt responsibilities.
In addition to those costs, another $20 million per year will need to be spent, starting in 2020, on the public-private partnership portion of the BRT project. This could result in property tax increases for Winnipeggers, transit fee increases or both. How that $20 million gets paid for will need to be addressed in the 2015 city budget. To cover those costs, a five percent property tax increase is required.
That’s why Gord Steeves believes it is a major mistake to proceed with Phase 2 of BRT and will not support this plan. He will call for council to stop this plan at the very first meeting of the new city council.