COVID-19: City of Winnipeg response and latest updates on City facilities and services COVID-19 : Mesures prises par la Ville de Winnipeg et dernières nouvelles sur les installations et services municipaux

December 4, 2020

Despite significant losses due to the pandemic, significant support and innovation for Winnipeg Transit continues

Released: 5:41 p.m.

Winnipeg, MB – Building on the decisions made during the multi-year balanced budget process earlier this year, support for public transit is once again prioritized as part of the Preliminary 2021 Balanced Budget Update.

“A well-functioning public transit system is a necessity for a growing city, and I’m pleased to see transit and transit innovation continue to be a priority,” said Matt Allard, Chairperson of the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works. “Despite the significant impact the pandemic has had on Winnipeg Transit, I’m proud of the support this Council continues to show for public transit.”

The Preliminary 2021 Balanced Budget Update increases the tax supported subsidy to transit from $67.3 million to $104.3 million, or 55 percent. This includes a one-time $28.5 million increase to the tax supported subsidy to address lower ridership levels during the pandemic and the lack of matching funds from the provincial government for the federal restart funding for public transit.

Along with every other transit service in Canada, the dynamic effects of pandemic-related restrictions on Canadians have created significant challenges and losses for transit operations.

A fundamental problem that all transit services grapple with is how to supply the most accurate service to meet the unpredictable changes in demand. This problem has been amplified during the pandemic, and part of the solution is to be more responsive to transit rider requests for service.

This concept was referenced in the draft Winnipeg Transit Master Plan which proposed on-request transit service as a future value add for transit riders. On-request, or on-demand, service delivery has been piloted or deployed in Canadian cities like Edmonton, Sault Ste. Marie, Stratford, Regina, and Saskatoon; and while outcomes will vary, the common theme being observed is increased service efficiency and decreased wait times for riders.

In the Preliminary 2021 Balanced Budget Update, a collaboration between the Innovation and Transit departments will see a proof of concept pilot launched upon budget approval that will focus on an immediate $140,000 technology investment to the Dart Service and a report back in 2021 on the transformative opportunity for improvements to service delivery in the City of Winnipeg. 

The Preliminary 2021 Balanced Budget Update for Transit also:

  • Continues to implement the Blue Rapid Transit Line, providing high frequency, reliable transit service between Downtown, the University of Manitoba, and St. Norbert.
  • Implements fare free travel for children age 11 and under
  • Further discounts the low-income bus pass
  • Implements key recommendations from the 2019 Ombudsman Report for Winnipeg Transit Plus, including the elimination of a long-standing barrier that requires the origin and destination of a trip to be within 500 meters of an established bus route (referred to as the 500-meter rule)
  • Allocates funds for 25 new transit buses and ongoing investments in heated bus shelters
  • Limits the Winnipeg Transit fare increase to inflation for all fare categories

“This Council should take pride in eliminating the 500-meter rule,” said Councillor Brian Mayes, St. Vital. “This is a major accomplishment for disability rights in the city. Whether it’s getting to Fort Whyte, or to visit family, Winnipeg Transit Plus users will for the first time be able to go anywhere within city boundaries.”

Finally, the Preliminary 2021 Balanced Budget Update includes cost saving measures of approximately $13 million in 2021 to address an expected loss of revenue due to lower ridership as a result of the pandemic. The tax supported subsidy for transit will increase by $18 million, or 27 percent from $67.3 million in 2020 to $85.3 million in 2023.

Historic $152.1 million investment into road renewals in 2021, and $864.1 million over the next six years

Released: 5:46 p.m.

Winnipeg, MB – The preliminary 2021 Balanced Budget Update continues to prioritize record funding into road renewal in Winnipeg.

“Our record investment in roads not only builds on year-over-year funding increases to address our infrastructure deficit, but also makes a significant commitment to the economy and specifically the construction industry during these challenging financial times,” said Jeff Browaty, Chairperson of the Standing Policy Committee on Innovation and Economic Development.

“Continued investment into fixing our roads is as important for our economy as it is for jobs,” said Councillor Matt Allard Chair of Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works. “These capital investments will have lasting benefits in Winnipeg for many years into the future.”

The preliminary 2021 Balanced Budget Update continues to invest the full value of the two percent property tax increase in regional and local road renewal. The preliminary 2021 Balanced Budget Update proposes $152.1 million in local and regional road renewal, the highest level of annual investment in the City’s history. This represents a $21.9 million increase from the $130.3 million invested in 2020.

This level of projected investment would result in approximately 140 lane kilometers of road and back lane renewals, which is approximately the distance from Winnipeg to Falcon Lake. The 6-year, $864.1 million investment into road renewals would result in approximately 800 lane kilometers of road and back lane renewals, which is approximately the distance from Winnipeg to Thompson.

It is estimated the proposed six-year $864 million capital investment plan for the Local and Regional Street Renewal Program will boost GDP by over $451 million in Manitoba, and over $118 million for Canada. The program is also estimated to create over 4,500 person years of employment while generating incremental tax revenue to the provincial government of at least $51.4 million, and $63.4 million to the federal government.

Major regional street reconstruction and rehabilitation projects that will begin in 2021 across all areas of Winnipeg include:

  • Donald Street – St. Mary Avenue to Gertrude Avenue
  • Northbound Hargrave Street – Broadway to York Avenue
  • Taylor Avenue – Wilton Street to Pembina Highway
  • Day Street – Pandora Avenue to Regent Avenue
  • Pandora Avenue East – Day Street to Wayoata Street
  • Dunkirk Drive – Fermor Avenue to St. Mary’s Road
  • Selkirk Avenue – Arlington Street to McPhillips Street
  • Munroe Avenue – Raleigh Street to Henderson Highway
  • Henderson Hiqhway – McLeod Avenue to Leighton Avenue
  • Wall Street – St. Mathews Avenue to Notre Dame Avenue
  • Salter Street – Cathedral Avenue to Slaw Rebchuk Bridge
  • Eastbound Portage Avenue – Woodlawn Street to Century Street Overpass
  • Westbound Portage Avenue – Moorgate Street to St. James Street
  • Eastbound Portage Avenue – St. Charles Street to David Street
  • Pembina Highway – Rue Des Trappistes to Ducharme Avenue
  • Lagimodiere Boulevard – Springfield Road to 200 m south of Headmaster
  • Sargent Avenue – Empress Street to St. James Street
  • Keewatin Street – Selkirk Avenue to Logan Avenue
  • Regent Avenue – Plessis Road to Rougeau Avenue
  • University Crescent – Pembina Highway to Chancellor Matheson Road

In addition, work will continue on the following multi-year projects:

  • Roblin Avenue – Dieppe Road to Provincial Trunk Highway 101
  • Corydon Avenue – Cambridge Street to Stafford Street

The proposed six-year capital investment plan invests $864.1 million, an average of $144 million per year into regional and local road renewals.

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