Monday, December 21, 2009

Province pledges $600M tunnel funding

Dalton McGuinty and the Ontario provincial government announced on Friday that the province will give Ottawa its one-third share of the first phase of the city's ambitious transit plan.

The first phase of the plan is now estimated to cost $2.1B (higher than earlier estimates of $1.8B), and includes light-rail transit from Tunney's Pasture to Blair with a tunnel below the downtown core. With its pledge of $600M, the province tripled their previous funding promise to the city and ensured Ottawa now has two-thirds of their funding in place. There are suggestions that the announcement puts pressure on the Federal government to pledge their share of the price tag (although I'm not sure the Feds are the type to be pressured into anything, and certainly not pressured by a Provincial Liberal government).

From the Ottawa Citizen:
“In Ottawa we’ve talked a lot about moving forward with rapid transit. Today, together, we take a giant step towards making our shared vision a reality,” [Ontario Premier and Ottawa South MPP Dalton] McGuinty said. “We are making the biggest transit investment in Ottawa’s history … This commitment is all the more significant given the challenging economic times we all find ourselves in.”

And from Mayor Larry O'Brien's blog:

This significant funding announcement illustrates the Ontario Government’s clear confidence in the City of Ottawa’s transit future. As your Mayor, I am pleased that the Province is on board with, and committed to, the transit plan that we currently have on the table - a transit solution that will change the pace and efficiency with which you, the residents, move around our great City.

Premier McGuinty also expressed strong confidence in City Council’s ability to make the necessary decisions to move this critical project forward, and to eventually implement our plan for light rail and rapid transit across Ottawa.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Transit strike: One year ago today

It was one year ago today that the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279 went on strike after talks broke off with the City of Ottawa during contract negotiations.

The Ottawa Citizen took a look back on the events leading up to, during, and in the aftermath of the strike.

Thank goodness we don't have to live through it again this winter.