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Council approves 25-cent fare hike to pay for rapid transit

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WINNIPEG - City council has voted in favour of increasing transit fares by 25 cents to pay for the second phase of the south west rapid transit corridor.

This morning, council's executive policy committee voted in favour of Winnipeg's new transportation master plan, which includes a target of finishing the second phase of the southwest rapid transit corridor by 2016.

Coun. Justin Swandel (St. Norbert) voted against the master plan. During this morning's city council meeting he introduced a motion to hike transit fees by an additional 20 cents to pay for the second phase of rapid transit. He said revenue from increased fares can be directed towards the rapid transit reservs to pay for the southwest corridor and future transit developments.

Council was already set to consider a five-cent hike to fares starting Jan. 1 to offset the cost of rising gas prices, more expensive buses and inflation.

Council was divided on the hike, but the plan was approved in a vote 8-6.

Mayor Sam Katz, Couns. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan), Paula Havixbeck (Charleswood), Thomas Steen (Elmwood), Swandel, Dan Vandal (St. Boniface), Russ Wyatt (Transcona), and Grant Nordman (St. Charles) supported the hike.

Couns. Ross Eadie (Mynarski), Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge), John Orlikow (River Heights), Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas), Devi Sharma (Old Kildonan) and Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre) voted against it.

Transit fares will increase by five cents on Jan. 1 and another 20 cents on June 1.

The move still needs to be approved by the province since they split the cost of funding Winnipeg Transit with the city.

Gerbasi said it's unfair to gouge transit riders and the city has not consulted with Winnipeg Transit, the province or city administration about the larger hike.

Transit does not need council approval for fare hikes below the rate of inflation. But since the proposed increases range from 2.1 to 2.9 per cent -- well above the expected inflation rate of 0.8 per cent -- the fare hikes require political approval.

jen.skerritt@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 2:20 PM CST: Updates with approval.

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