Thursday, April 2, 2009

Queen's Park giving transit cash; Ottawa hopeful

After a $9B transit funding announcement from the Province of Ontario for Toronto transit projects, City of Ottawa officials are hopeful that the province will kick in their third of the City's multi-billion dollar light-rail transit plan.

From the Ottawa Metro:

The announcement should free up provincial politicians to turn their attention to the premier's hometown, said Mayor Larry O'Brien.

Ottawa is looking for the federal and provincial governments to each pay a third of a $1.4 billion first phase of a rapid transit network that would see a 12-km light rail line running from Blair Station through a downtown tunnel to Tunney's Pasture.

O'Brien said Ottawa is in a very similar position that Metrolinx (formerly the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority) was in around a year ago and he expects Ottawa to catch up by the end of the year.

"You have to through a number of stages. The first stage is you have to get the buy-in to the vision and we're anticipating that will happen much sooner than six months to nine months," he said.

1 comment:

Klaus said...

Ontario is not yet convinced that Ottawa's Transit Plan has any merit.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs pointed Ottawa to a consultant's study that said a density of 120 residents and jobs per gross hectare is needed for transitways (BRT) and LRT to be sustainable. This information is repeated in the City's draft Official Plan.

Yet the City is saying that with the exception of the downtown segment of the planned LRT and possibly Blair Station, there are no plans for any other LRT segment and other LRT-BRT transfer stations to have the required sustainable density by 2031.

And this goes doubly for ALL the transitway extensions into Barrhaven, to Cumberland, and to Kanata/Stittsville.

For Ottawa taxpayers this translates into very large increases in the transit tax levies year over year to pay for large increases in transit operating costs.

And, as for the announced costs for Phase 1 of the Plan - $3.27 billion - according to the City's web site - that is over $1 billion more than the City's treasurer says is affordable without an additional CAPITAL transit levy.

No provincial government would want to see such a transit plan - a plan that requires residents to pay additional taxes to cover much higher ongoing transit operating costs, and to pay additional tax levies for the City's share of the $3.27 billion in capital costs - and be responsible for any cost overruns.

That is why I suggest the Province has yet to make any announcement of financial support beyond the $200 million that had been committed for the original NS-LRT project.