Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Slow transit

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The city's new transportation plan envisions four rapid-transit corridors over the next 20 years, and two more after that, which is roughly what's been on the drawing board for the last 10 years. At this rate of progress, most Winnipeggers will either be dead or retired before the city gets around to building an effective rapid-transit system.

The most important detail to emerge from the report was that it would cost $700 million to complete the southwest corridor for light rail transit, while it would only cost another $275 million to finish the second phase of bus rapid transit, in addition to the $138 million already spent on the first phase from downtown to the Jubilee Avenue interchange.

The tab for light rail is sobering, but at least the mayor now has some hard numbers (until they, too, expire from old age) when he reopens talks with the provincial government, which has claimed it was waiting for the transportation report before revisiting the issue.

Two things are clear: First, nothing can be done without the province's support; and, second, it's up to the mayor to lead the issue and ensure something happens before the end of this century.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 29, 2011 A18

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