Sunday, July 13, 2008

Naqvi, part three: Provincial funding

For any transit plan in Ottawa, it's obvious that provincial and federal players have to support the municipality with proper funding. And, according to Yasir Naqvi, the provincial government is right there in the wings, waiting for City Council to present them with more specifics behind the much-heralded Option Four.

The provincial government, in the first go-around, was very much part-and-parcel of the whole scheme. As you know, the provincial government had given $200M to the city for the first system, which never happened. That money is still sitting on the table, and we are, the premier himself and other members as well, have been very clear in saying that we want to see a good public transit system in Ottawa. Let's come up with a good plan, see if it works, so that all three levels of government can work together and make sure that, from a financial point of view, it happens.

If the rumours of a $4B price tag for the current transit option are true, it's obvious that $200M from the province won't be enough to cover the costs. Should the price be split up three ways, the cost for each level of government would be roughy $1.3B, although much of it would be spread over the reported 20- to 25-year timeline. For Naqvi, the plan right now is to wait for more information.

We, obviously, are waiting for that plan and the costing of that plan, and as I understand from my conversations at City Hall, the next stage is going to be the phasing in approach to figuring out what the new system, Option Four, I guess, which has been agreed upon by the city, what phases of that system will go in. Because that will allow the city to then cost the price of each phase. That's, probably, the point where the provincial government will get more involved. You have to remember, the city has not made any, has not asked for anything yet, so we obviously have to wait for that. But that does not mean we are not engaging in dialogue, we are obviously be part-and-parcel of that conversation that is taking pace to ensure that there are no misunderstandings as we move forward.

We are all waiting anxiously for the costing-out of the phasing process. It should very well be the next step in the most important decision in the history of the City of Ottawa's transit infrastructure. According to Naqvi, the province is prepared to stand side-by-side with the city--as long as they can afford it.


Part Three of Yasir Naqvi on Public Transit in Ottawa, a exclusive:

Part One: Introduction
Part Two: Effective Public Transit
Part Three: Provincial Funding
Part Four: The Cancelled North-South Line
Part Five: Subway is "a good idea"
Part Six: Rail on the Ottawa River Parkway
Part Seven: Bi-Provincial Partnerships

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