Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Province wants answers before funding Ottawa light-rail

Ottawa West-Nepean MPP and Ontario Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Watson expressed concerns with the City's current light-rail transit plan, suggesting that he's not convinced the estimated $4-5B price tag would not escalate quickly, according to the Ottawa Citizen:

Watson, speaking to reporters Monday after addressing the Association of Municipalities of Ontario annual convention in Ottawa, said provincial government staff are continuing to scrutinize the proposed plan, which includes a tunnel downtown for a light-rail service.

He said he is concerned about the affordability of the plan because the city's original project for north-south rail -- scrapped by the current council -- was a $1-billion project while the current, more extensive plan is close to $5 billion.

"That obviously concerns me as a keeper of tax dollars," said Watson, the Liberal MPP for Ottawa West-Nepean.
It's no secret that members from every level of government--municipal, provincial, and federal--are concerned that a project of this magnitude runs the risk of overshooting its budget. It seems unlikely that staff can offer certain assurances, but they'll have to come close if this thing's ever going to get started.


former ontario liberal said...

You know what I want answered?

"When is the Province if Toronto going to give any funding to transit in Ottawa?"

That's what.

It sure would be nice if the Premier of Toronto or any of his senior ministers were from Toronto's second-largest city, and had some awareness of the place.

Dave said...

The above commenter has a point. Toronto's Transit City plan got funding from the province very easily, despite having at least as much controversy and doubts swirling about it. So why is the province dragging its feet when it comes to Ottawa's light rail project?

Keith said...

In Toronto's case, the province has virtually taken over the construction of transit lines with the creation of Metrolinx. The Transit City lines will be owned by Metrolinx. If Ottawa is willing to go that route, it would probably have an easier time.