Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Federal government gives their $600M for LRT

After months of anxiety over when (and perhaps whether) the federal government was going to pledge their share of Ottawa's upcoming light-rail transit plan, citizens can breathe a sigh of relief: John Baird committed their $600M share of the project this morning in a press conference.

From the Ottawa Sun:
"This historic investment in Ottawa's public transit infrastructure demonstrates the Government of Canada's commitment to building sustainable and healthy communities," said Baird in notes prepared for the announcement. "With this funding, I expect that the City will work towards a practical and affordable plan to serve the needs of the residents of Ottawa."
The pledge comes six months after the Ontario provincial government committed their $600M share, meaning the City has funding for $1.2B of the $2.1B project--and now needs to find ways to fund the remaining $900M on its own. Some councillors--including Transit Committee chair and 2010 mayoral candidate Alex Cullen--are confident that the contingencies in place mean that won't be a problem, but another mayoral candidate (Jim Watson) continues to question whether or not Ottawa can afford the downtown tunnel that the plan is built around.

The $600M federal and provincial funding pledges were based on preliminary cost estimates of $1.8B, which has gradually risen to the current estimate of $2.1B. Although some had hoped that the federal commitment would help Ottawa fund that overrun at least to some degree, it is still reassuring that the city now has both funding partners on board with a true pledge that carries a dollar figure with it.


Anonymous said...

What they should do when they realize how they've lowballed the cost is simply cut the plan back... Bayview to Hurdman. Bayview would let them expand up to Carling and down to Lincoln in the future (expanding west from Tunney's onto the parkway is disallowed by the NCC anyway). Not to mention that Bayview has lots of room to act as a terminal for both rail systems. It would also get rid of the ridiculous situation of taking the bus in to Tunney's, hopping onto a train for one stop, then switching onto your second train.

Even Blair is getting to the outside of the city, and Hurdman is already set up to be a good terminal.

KBL said...

^ You're a moron.

They are building the bare minimum possible. Blair is not outside the city. It's the last stop in the Greenbelt.

If the cutback the line will be utterly useless. If the line runs from Bayview to Hurdman, nobody's going to want to use it. Who wants to transfer for a mere 3-4 stops in many cases (says students of military personnel from the East going to Mackenzie King)?

No cutting it back. If they go over let them do the mature thing, bite the bullet and finish the thing. We can look at where to scale back in later phases instead.