Studying Light Rail to Death?

Winnipeg has been debating -- and studying-- rapid transit for decades. With the first leg of a BRT system finally under construction, critics are questioning the mayor's decision to fund yet another study on LRT.

Winnipeg's mayor Sam Katz has made no secret of his preference for LRT over BRT, despite the conclusions of Task Force studies and consultants that Winnipeg's slow growth and relatively low population densities would not support rail. However, even as the city's first BRT is under construction, Mayor Katz is calling for yet another study on switching the construction mid-stream to LRT.

"The City of Winnipeg has set aside at least $2.7 million to study transit and transportation since Sam Katz was elected mayor [in 2004] -- and may spend another $100,000 over the next three months. On Wednesday, city council's executive policy committee voted to spend up to $100,000 by July on a study that will compare the costs and benefits of light-rail transit versus bus rapid transit.

Over the last two years, the city has also devoted $1.25 million to develop a transportation authority and another $1.15 million to develop a new transportation strategy.

Appearing before EPC, [one city councilor] accused Katz of repeating a manoeuvre from 2004, when the newly elected mayor cancelled plans for a bus corridor and asked the city to study rapid transit instead. "Finish it off" [she] said. 'Don't kill it again.'"

Full Story: Transportation Studies Add Up

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