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Transportation Plan Needs to Put Winnipeg Tax Payers First

November 16, 2011

presentation to Council November 16, 2011 

I am voting to put Winnipeg taxpayers first and make fixing existing infrastructure a top priority in the City’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP).   The TMP presented today at council, is designed to allow those people working outside of Winnipeg easier access into Winnipeg, which raises the question of fairness to taxpayers in the City of Winnipeg.   Why is the EPC’s main priority spending money on infrastructure that mostly benefits people who don’t live in Winnipeg and don’t pay taxes here? The TMP, as presented today, puts a priority on building new roads at the edge of the city and little money is dedicated to fix our existing crumbling infrastructure. This plan will only drive more cars into Winnipeg further exacerbating the problem for Mature Communities and other older neighbourhoods located in the central part of our City. For Example: ·         The Waverley by-pass continues to be delayed in favour of new projects at the outskirts of the City. For example Waverely has an average weekday flow of over 32,000 cars in 2009 while other projects that have flow rates of 14,800 cars however are considered a higher priority. ·         Cars and trucks will continue to drive on roads that are so bad that they shake homes and this will only get worse as the volume of traffic increases ·         “Cut-through traffic” using residential roads is not addressed, increasing the risk of commercial and commuter traffic through residential neighbourhoods. It’s also what’s not in the TMP that raises important questions as well – like how the City will pay for it. The Plan identifies 100’s of Millions of spending on new roads and other new infrastructure, even though the City has an existing infrastructure deficit estimated at $3.8 billion.   “There is not an unlimited amount of money available, there is no plan on how to deal with the existing infrastructure deficit, and the TMP outlines a long list of new infrastructure projects, we need a plan, not a Christmas list. The concept of dedicated user fees and sources of revenue, such as debt financing for new public works yard and Plessis by-pass, user fees for all users including increased parking fees, gas tax, congestion tax for car users should all be considered.  These concepts should be considered in context of whole plan, including funding of roads, but the only user fee recommended at this time is for rapid transit. That is not a plan. Therefore, I will be voting against this plan as it: - adds new infrastructure at the cost of old infrastructure - promotes urban sprawl - does not deal with existing neighbourhood transportation problems and, with the additional traffic from non-Winnipeggers using our roads for free to get to work, will only make the situation worse. - there is no money identified with the plan except for the user fee for second leg of transit but no money for all the road works.