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Attempts to derail bus-rapid transit corridor will fail, predicts Mayor Katz

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Katz says he is a proponent of light-rail transit, but supported the bus system because it’s more affordable now and it can be converted later to LRT when additional funds have been found.

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Katz says he is a proponent of light-rail transit, but supported the bus system because it’s more affordable now and it can be converted later to LRT when additional funds have been found. Photo Store

Efforts to derail the completion of Winnipeg’s first dedicated bus corridor will fail, predicts Mayor Sam Katz.

Katz said he doesn’t believe there is support on council for two last-minute initiatives: one to stop building the bus corridor until voters pass judgment on the plan in a referendum in the fall; and, the other to convert the bus corridor into a light rail system.

"I believe council is definitely ready to move forward on (the bus corridor plan) and we’ll do that," Katz said this morning following a cheque-presentation ceremony to two charities.

North Kildonan councillor Jeff Browaty, a member of Katz’s executive policy committee, announced last week he no longer supports completing the bus corridor project and will bring a motion to council Tuesday to halt the work and let voters decide if it should resume through a non-binding referendum in the Oct. 22 civic election.

The wording of Browaty’s motion has not been finalized.

Also on Tuesday’s council agenda, councillors Russ Wyatt and Paula Havixbeck will argue that, given the escalating costs of the bus corridor, the city should immediately convert the corridor into a light rail system (LRT).

This is the Wyatt-Havixbeck motion: "That Council endorse a full LRT project connecting East Winnipeg via the Downtown and into the University of Manitoba. That this project be made a priority for the new Building Canada Program, for funding from the other levels of government and to be built at the earliest opportunity."

Katz said he believes both motions will fail.

"I don’t think there is going to be a great deal of debate," Katz said of Browaty’s motion for the referendum. "I think it’s been definitely over-publicized."

Katz said he’s always been a supporter of LRT, adding he supported the bus corridor form of rapid transit because it’s more affordable now and it can be converted later to LRT when additional funds have been found.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 11:08 AM CDT: Adds details about wording of motions.

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