• 2014 09 26 Steeves

    Winnipeg can’t afford Brian Bowman in the Mayor’s Office

    Bowman supports a damaging municipal sales tax, Bus Rapid Transit, and toll roads

    Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves called on Brian Bowman to state exactly how he would pay for promises he made during this campaign. To date, Bowman has not costed out his pledges, such as Bus Rapid Transit.

    “Brian Bowman has not outlined how he will pay for his Bus Rapid Transit plan,” Steeves said. “So I did, and discovered he will need to raise property taxes between 30 and 35 percent to pay for his plan to complete Bus Rapid Transit.”

    Bowman has said he will use dollars generated from development around Bus Rapid Transit legs to pay for the rapid transit expansion. Assuming the average net value of property taxes on new houses is $1,439, Bowman would need to ensure 13,899 new houses are built just to cover the $20 million in borrowing costs for Phase 2 alone.

    Phase 1 of BRT was supposed to generate development as well, but the land around the Fort Rouge Rapid Transit Station remains virtually untouched to this day.

    Over the past five years, housing starts have ranged from 3,000 to 4,500 for the entire city. How can Bowman promise to pay for Bus Rapid Transit through development dollars along BRT routes when he would need 58,374 new houses to pay for his full Bus Rapid Transit plan?

    Bowman has also proposed a new municipal sales tax of three to four percent, on top of the eight percent PST and five percent GST. If he implements that tax, Winnipeggers will pay 17 percent in sales taxes. That hurts Winnipeg businesses and citizens alike.

    Bowman has also refused to rule out placing tolls on roads to raise more money for the municipal government. How many toll roads will Bowman build? Will he impose tolls on existing roads? How much will those tolls cost drivers in Winnipeg?

    The truth is, Winnipeggers can’t afford Brian Bowman’s unrealistic plans for the city.


    By the Numbers

    Bus Rapid Transit

    • Brian Bowman has said he will not only build Phase 2 but will build four more legs of BRT. The reality is Bowman has already pledged to raise property taxes 12 percent over the course of the four-year mandate if elected mayor. This does not include money for BRT.

    • The city’s BRT reports say the cost to borrow the money to build Phase 2 is $20 million per year for 30 years. That represents a five percent property tax increase just to pay for BRT. That assumes there are no cost overruns. If there are, overruns, that property tax increase would have to be higher.

    • Bowman has pledged to complete all six legs of BRT by 2030.  He also claimed to be able to pay for it through development along those transit corridors.

    • A key component of Phase 1 of BRT was development along the corridor. However, there remains a lot of undeveloped land around stations, such as the Fort Rouge Rapid Transit Station.  Development along transit corridors is not guaranteed.

    • If one uses the average net value of property taxes for new housing ($1,439 per new house), Bowman would need 13,899 new houses to cover a five percent property tax hike required to build Phase 2 alone. If the property tax hike required to cover Phase 2 costs jumps to seven percent, he would need 19,458 new houses.

    • Winnipeg’s housing starts over the past five years for the whole city range between 3,000 and 4,700 per year. These five years represent some of the best growth the city has seen in recent memory.

    • To complete all six legs of BRT and have it paid for through new development, Bowman would need 58,374 new houses to be built in the city of Winnipeg.

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