Steeves calls candidates to voice stances on Winnipeg rapid transit

Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves challenges those running for council to speak up on where they stand on Bus Rapid Transit.

Gord Steeves wants mayoral candidates to support re-evaluation of rapid transit expansion plans

Winnipeg mayoral candidate Gord Steeves is sending a letter out to his competition Friday asking them to voice their stances and support re-examining the expansion of rapid transit. (CBC)

Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves has challenged those running for council to speak up on where they stand on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

Steeves said he believes phase two would be built in the wrong place and cost taxpayers too much, but he hasn't offered any alternatives.

"I will commit to nothing further than beyond sitting down with council following the election and having a discussion with council as to what is realistic," said Steeves.

Steeves is mailing out a letter to all candidates Friday asking for their support to stand with him.

Candidates against planned BRT expansion

Steeves has changed his position on BRT in recent months.

He originally supported BRT expansion in May but did an about-face on Aug. 22, prompting Paula Havixbeck to call him manipulative and a political opportunist.

David Sanders said earlier this month he, too, would scrap the planned expansion. Sanders would go back to the drawing board if elected.

"It appears that council has been hoodwinked into going out of the way to provide glorified express bus service to assist certain land developers,” said Sanders in early September. 

He said the planned bus line, which will run directly south of a huge Shindico development on Taylor Avenue, stands to benefit developers.

While Robert-Falcon Ouellette said he would cancel construction plans for the next leg of BRT, estimated to cost $600 million.
Robert-Falcon Ouellette says he would cancel the next phase of BRT in favour of a low-cost metro bus system and invest in the development of a light rail system. (Bert Savard/CBC)

Ouellette has said he would approach transit with a three-part plan, which would include a new low-cost metro-bus system he thinks would provide better service across Winnipeg.

He would also commission a $1.5 million feasibility study to determine how much it would cost to relocate CPR rail yards and rail traffic outside of the city in hopes to then develop and use existing rail lines in a light rail system.

Support for BRT expansion

Judy Wasylycia-Leis has come out in support of BRT expansion.

She hasn’t offered specifics on how the city will fund Phase 2, which will cost around $20 million over the next 30 years.

“There are questions about financing, but that doesn’t mean we stop now, dead in our tracks once more and go back to the drawing board,” said Wasylycia-Leis on Sept. 4.

Both Havixbeck and Brian Bowman said in August they support the plan for phase 2 expansion of BRT.