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Transit doesn't like idea of trading car for bus rides

WINNIPEG Transit has put the kibosh on one councillor's idea of offering free lifetime transit rides in exchange for a car.

At July's city council meeting, Coun. Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre) introduced a motion calling for Winnipeg Transit to explore the idea of copying a car-for-transit exchange program, such as in Murcia, Spain. Heavily congested Murcia offers free lifetime transit to residents who turn in a working, fully paid-up vehicle.

In a report to council's public works committee, transit officials suggest the plan wouldn't work in Winnipeg, and not just because of this city's relatively low density.

"The lifetime commitment required of potential participants suggests that legitimate interest in the program would likely be low," transit engineer Bjorn Radstrom writes. "However, the participation rate of people looking to acquire an inexpensive used car specifically for participating in this program would likely be high."

As well, the plan would cost the city a lot of money, Radstrom writes. The city would receive about $500 worth of scrap metal for every vehicle, but spend $18,500 on every such rider, assuming each requires 20 years of free transit passes.

Murcia seems to be the only city where the program exists -- and the Spanish city doesn't seem too eager to talk about it.

"While several attempts were made to contact officials at the City of Murcia to discuss the program, no response was received," Radstrom writes.

Province kicks in $2.5M

to burn off landfill's gas

THE Selinger government has agreed to contribute $2.5 million toward a long-delayed plan to burn off methane generated by garbage rotting at the city-owned Brady Road landfill, one of Manitoba's worst greenhouse-gas emitters.

Since 2002, the city has been talking about capturing Brady Road landfill's methane and either burning it off or using it as an energy source. Given the cheap cost of natural gas in Manitoba, no private-sector entity was interested in pursuing the latter option, city solid-waste manager Darryl Drohomerski said in March.

The city will issue a call for private companies interested in simply capturing the gas and burning it off. According to a report heading to the public works committee, the province has agreed to contribute a maximum of $2.5 million toward the project pending completion of a formal deal.

Dugald repairs 'deficient'

COUNCILLORS representing three east Winnipeg wards say upgrades to Dugald Road in 2009 are defective and want to know whether the work is under warranty.

In March, council's East Kildonan-Transcona community committee -- councillors Russ Wyatt (Transcona), Thomas Steen (Elmwood-East Kildonan) and Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) -- asked the public works department to look into repairs to eastbound lanes of Dugald Road between Lagimodiere Boulevard and Plessis Road, "in light of the deficiencies that have developed since its construction in 2009."

Their request will come before council's public works committee on April 12.

-- Bartley Kives

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 9, 2012 B4

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