Friday, September 18, 2009

North-south line may be resurrected to woo provincial funding

The light-rail project connecting downtown Ottawa to the southern reaches of the city, approved by council in July 2006 and then cancelled by council in December 2006, may be revived--at least in part--to make the project attractive for provincial funding.

From the Ottawa Citizen:
Ottawa may have ditched its first north-south light-rail plan, but it could soon be building the project regardless, if the Ontario government decides to fund it.

Briefing notes on the city’s pitch to two key provincial ministers show that Ottawa is offering two options for the funding of its new transit plan in the first phase.

One option is a package that includes building the light-rail tunnel downtown and building the rail line from Blair Station in the east to Tunney’s Pasture west of downtown, as well as expanded bus transit corridors. This would cost $1.7 billion.
Just last week, City Council voted in favour of a $36.7M settlement of a lawsuit stemming from the initial cancellation of the north-south rail project. Had the project not been cancelled, preliminary timelines estimated it would be finished or at least finishing in autumn 2009--or around this time.

Even if the province decides to fund the first-phase option including the north-south line, Ottawa's downtown transit tunnel would still be the first undertaking.

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