June 26, 2019

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Paying for BRT the question

EPC seeks ways to fund $20-M annual payments

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/1/2015 (1624 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WORK is proceeding on the design of the second phase of the bus rapid-transit corridor, but city hall still has no idea how it’s going to pay the financing charges on the project.

Coun. John Orlikow, a member of Mayor Brian Bowman’s executive policy committee, said no decision has been reached on where the city will find the $20 million in annual payments it needs to pay for its share of the $590-million project.

“We haven’t even talked about this one yet,” Orlikow said.

City hall will have to begin making annual $20-million payments to pay off the $225 million it’s borrowing for the project in 2020 — but the source of the money has to be identified in the 2015 budget.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/1/2015 (1624 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WORK is proceeding on the design of the second phase of the bus rapid-transit corridor, but city hall still has no idea how it’s going to pay the financing charges on the project.

Coun. John Orlikow, a member of Mayor Brian Bowman’s executive policy committee, said no decision has been reached on where the city will find the $20 million in annual payments it needs to pay for its share of the $590-million project.

"We haven’t even talked about this one yet," Orlikow said.

City hall will have to begin making annual $20-million payments to pay off the $225 million it’s borrowing for the project in 2020 — but the source of the money has to be identified in the 2015 budget.

Bowman and members of his EPC have met on the city’s 2015 budget, but Orlikow said they still haven’t found a funding source for the annual payments.

"Unfortunately, the previous council abdicated responsibility and didn’t do it," Orlikow said, referring to former mayor Sam Katz and his EPC team. "Now, we’re at the last minute where we have to decide how we’re going to fund this commitment."

Orlikow said the councillors elected in October and appointed to EPC are shocked the project has proceeded to this point without determining its funding.

"They would have assumed that you build a project like this, you know how you’re going to pay for it."

The $20-million tab was often cited in the recent election campaign and used by some mayoral candidates as a reason to argue for cancelling the BRT project.

But the two biggest supporters of the project — Judy Wasylycia-Leis and Bowman — never explained where they would find the money.

The administration had suggested the funds could be found by raising transit fares or a property-tax increase, or a combination of both.

The $20 million is the equivalent of a property tax increase of four to five percentage points.

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin
Reporter

Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.

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