Special meeting called on $155M Waverley underpass in Winnipeg

Councillors will get another chance Friday to vote on a $155-million proposal to build the Waverley underpass. Last month members of the infrastructure and public works committee did not approve the report, saying they needed more time to consider it.

City staff seek approval of proposal first made in January, want project included in capital budget

The infrastructure and public works committee will take one more look at the Waverley underpass proposal to get it into the 2016 capital budget. (CBC)

Winnipeg councillors will get another chance to approve the proposed $155-million Waverley underpass in a special meeting Friday.

Last month, members of the infrastructure and public works committee said they could not vote to approve it because they felt they didn't have enough time to consider the proposal.

Mayor Brian Bowman says city councillors and the public will get all the information they need on the project. He says getting the details are important, but timing is critical as well.

"It's good that the committee is considering it. They felt they needed extra time. I certainly support them in making sure they get as much information as they need. We want to, obviously, have a decision by council sooner rather than later, because we have $90 million on the table from other levels of government."

Bowman told reporters he hopes projects like the Waverley underpass might qualify for even more federal money - perhaps as much as 50 per cent of the cost. 

"I think it is fair to say I'm hopeful. We are looking for a funding formula that perhaps Waverley could fit into, but other projects could fit into as well," Bowman said.

Bowman says one of the requests city mayors made of the Prime Minister in Ottawa last week was to consider boosting federal participation in public construction projects. He says cities get approximately 8 per cent of tax revenue but face paying for as much or more than half of the infrastructure needs in each province.

The city's administrative report asks councillors to include $155,082,000 in the 2016 capital budget for an underpass to be built at the CN mainline at Waverley Street and Taylor Avenue.

That includes $45,900,000 the provincial government announced it will put towards the project, and a matching contribution the federal government has approved in principal.

The city would pay $63,332,000 towards the underpass.

On Jan. 19, the committee asked for a 60-day extension to review the report, but it is back before the councillors well before the end of that time.

The report asks councillors to approve it so it may be included in the 2016 budget, which is usually debated in March.


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