September 8, 2008
RAPID TRANSIT AGREEMENT INKED BY WINNIPEG AND MANITOBA
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$138-million Project To Include Dedicated Bicycle Paths
A rapid transit system and dedicated bicycle paths linking south Winnipeg to the downtown is one step closer to shovels going in the ground following a $138-million funding agreement reached between the City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba, Premier Gary Doer and Mayor Sam Katz announced today.
“This is a significant infrastructure project linking south Winnipeg to our downtown,” said Doer. “It will help improve transit ridership and efficiency, while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet Kyoto targets. I am pleased to partner with the mayor on this important initiative.”
The first stage of the Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor will receive a $138-million investment and will extend from Jubilee Avenue to The Forks with a second, future stage to run from Jubilee Avenue to Bison Drive with both stages incorporating bike paths into their construction.
“I’ve always said rapid transit is part of our city’s future,” said Katz. “Today’s announcement takes a comprehensive approach to link our city with hubs focusing on mixed residential and commercial development that will provide the financial stability needed to make this important project a reality. By laying the groundwork today, we can move ahead on providing Winnipeggers with quick, reliable and green transportation alternatives at a time when gas prices are an unprecedented high.”
Winnipeg will contribute $30.75 million which includes $17.5 million from the 2008 Federal Transit Trust. The province will match the federal transit trust contribution of $17.5 million and will fund 50 per cent of the net operating costs of the rapid transit system through its existing 50-50 transit funding agreement, fulfilling its legislative commitment under the Climate Change Act passed earlier this spring.
The new rapid transit corridor will utilize the innovative tax increment financing tool to capture any incremental growth from residential and commercial infill development along the rapid transit corridor. Tax increment financing is an investment and development tool that reinvests property and school taxes into certain areas to encourage infrastructure development that otherwise would not take place.
As part of today’s agreement, the mayor and premier also agreed to jointly seek a one-third federal contribution to the second stage of the Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor and agreed to work together to continue the development of a comprehensive rapid transit system for the city of Winnipeg.