By Tom O’BrienA new proposal for the proposed Winnipeg Transit Line has been introduced to city council.
The plan, which is part of the larger $1.8-billion TransLink infrastructure plan, includes the creation of a “transit corridor” between the University of Manitoba and the downtown core, and includes a $50-million funding boost for transit improvements.
In a meeting of the city’s executive committee Tuesday, Transportation Minister John Tory unveiled the proposed route.
“The corridor is the first step towards bringing light rail to Winnipeg,” Tory said.
“It will bring more people to the city and help revitalize downtown.”
The corridor will connect the University campus to the downtown, a proposed new downtown transit stop and a proposed bus terminal.
It would also include an express bus terminal for the North End.
The proposed stop is on the University Avenue west of Yonge Street, across from the Winnipeg Jets arena.
The stop would be one of the most direct stops to the university, with the current express bus stop in the downtown parking garage being a short walk from the arena.
The proposed stop would also provide a transit option to the existing downtown bus hub.
The proposal is being pitched as a way to ease congestion in the city, and Tory said it’s the right thing to do.
“This will alleviate the congestion in downtown Winnipeg, and help us move ahead with our ambitious transit expansion,” Tory wrote in a letter to councillors.
“We need to be prepared for the congestion of a 20-year project and I’m confident that this corridor will help bring the downtown to a better place.”
“We’re not in the position where we can do that without making major changes,” said city transportation critic Doug Griffiths.
“Our downtown is a very congested, under-used, underused space.
If we’re not prepared for this, we’re just going to be wasting money.”
The project also includes a number of major upgrades, including a new bridge over the Kipling River.
Tory said the bridge would be the first of its kind in Canada.
He said the project will bring in $1 billion over 10 years to Winnipeg.
“This will be a major undertaking that will take us well into the future,” Tory told the committee.
“For us to do this right, we need to have the necessary infrastructure.
We’re not going to have that infrastructure on the waterfront.””
If we don’t have that in place, there’s a chance that we’ll lose that bridge and we’ll have a lot of problems down the road,” he added.
Tory also mentioned that the $50 million will be split between the city of Winnipeg, the province and TransLink.
“You’ve heard it before, this is not a one-off thing,” Tory explained.
“TransLink is the infrastructure provider.
If you’re not building this, you’re spending money that will never be needed.
The province is going to get a significant share of the money.”
TransLink’s $1,898 million project is expected to be complete in 2023.
For more on the $1b project, click here