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City earmarks $138.6M for rapid transit

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The City of Winnipeg plans to set aside $138.6 million over the next three years to extend the Southwest Transitway to the University of Manitoba.

The city has earmarked $1.1 million in the 2013 capital budget to complete the design of the second leg of the Southwest Transitway, which has a projected cost of $350 million, as well as begin the design of an East Transitway that would connect downtown to Transcona.

A further $10 million has been earmarked for the Southwest Transitway in the 2014 capital budget, with another 127.5 million dedicated to the 2015 capital budget.

"The whole purpose of today quite simply is to show the commitment of city council," Mayor Sam Katz said this morning at the Winnipeg Transit's Fort Rouge garage.

The city and province do not have a deal with the province or Ottawa to complete the Southwest Transitway.

The announcement effectively places the funding onus on the Selinger government, which has said it will pay for the corridor but has not come to any agreement with the city.

Katz said he hopes Broadway will commit $137.5 million toward the second leg of the Southwest Transit way and also match the city's $1.1-million design commitment.

Ottawa has been asked to spend $75 million on the Southwest Transitway, using a fund devoted to public-private partnerships, Katz said.

The second leg will be operated by the city but could be constructed as a design-build public-private partnership, the mayor said.

Province willing to pay $117M

Manitoba Local Government Minister Ron Lemieux said he is thrilled to see the city commit to completing the transitway, and said the province remains committed to paying for one-third of the tab.

That works out $117 million, or $20.5 million shy of what the city wants to see from the province. But Lemieux said discussions with Ottawa may yield more federal dollars.

The first phase of the Southwest Transitway, which runs from Queen Elizabeth Way to Jubilee Avenue, opened in April.

If all funding is in place, construction on the second phase could begin in 2015 and be completed in 2018, said Winnipeg Transit director Dave Wardrop.

The second leg will most likely follow a dogleg route through Fort Garry instead of parallel to Pembina Highway. This route would run west through the Parker neighbourhood and then south along a Manitoba Hydro corridor.

Winnipeg Transit is expected to recommend this alignment to city council in early 2013.

History

Updated on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 11:29 AM CST: Updates from news conference.

4:41 PM: Adds comment from province.

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