London

Should the city pour an additional $2.2M to cover Bus Rapid Transit costs?

The city’s facing a hefty $2.2 million bill following a proposal to look into alternative routes to its controversial Bus Rapid Transit plan.

In 2014, initial assessment costs were pegged at $1.9 million that was increased to $3.6 million

(Chris Ensing/CBC)

The city's facing a hefty $2.2 million bill following a proposal to look into alternative routes to its controversial Bus Rapid Transit plan.

Last spring, councillors asked consultants to create alternative routes to its proposed $500 million transit plan after a string of backlash from downtown residents and businesses.

Jennie Ramsay, who's the project director of rapid transit for the city, said several factors have led to the increase request from IBI consulting group.

"The final approved BRT corridors included elements that triggered further analysis through the transit project assessment process that were not accounted for in the previous scope," said Ramsay before the city's strategic priorities and policies committee on Monday.

"In order to develop and evaluate alternative concepts and effectively engage public in decision making, an additional level of (work) was required."

Ramsay highlighted the need for additional community and stakeholder meetings in the spring of 2017 to discusses alternative routes and community concerns.

She also added that additional illustrative roadmaps, design options and examinations of cultural and heritage sites were required.  

In 2014, initial assessment costs were pegged at $1.9 million, which were ultimately increased to $3.6 million in 2016.

Today, total assessment costs have increased to a total of about $5.8 million.

City staff also introduced a revamped communications strategy that outlined more transparent outreach initiatives that would educate the public on the BRT plan.  The plan could include the development of promotional signage of the BRT plan on city buildings and busses, among others.

The committee voted 12 - 2 for the increase with councillors Phil Squire and Mo Salih voting against.

A decision is set to be finalized by council on Tuesday. 

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