An artist's rendition of LRT trains emerging from an overpass. © City of Ottawa
The Ontario government accepted the environmental assessment for Ottawa's new light-rail transit plan--downtown tunnel included--so cancelling the tunnel, according to current transit committee chair Alex Cullen, would bring transit planners back to the square one.
From the Ottawa Citizen:
"Bay Councillor Alex Cullen, who is running for mayor, on Wednesday took a shot at anyone questioning the need for a tunnel, saying a significant change to the project would mean redoing the environmental assessment, and more publicA few of Ottawa's mayoral candidates have talked about cancelling or changing the transit plan. Jim Watson is the only one who seemed interested in trying to cut the tunnel out of the plan, and he hasn't said much about it recently. Mike Maguire and Clive Doucet want completely different plans, so it makes sense that cancelling the tunnel would bring Ottawa back to square one. Charlie Taylor seems resigned to moving forward with the current plan, although he's said he'd have chosen something else if it wouldn't cost the city so much time. Stan Pioro seems interested in cancelling public transit in any measure, aside from buses to Richmond. Both Larry O'Brien and Alex Cullen want to move forward with the plan as it is today.
consultation and background studies — something that took council four years to complete for its current project.
"Deputy city manager Nancy Schepers, who’s in charge of transit, said cutting the tunnel would mean the city would have “to go back to the drawing board” on its transit plan. Looking at another option, such as surface light-rail, would require figuring out how the system would work with different traffic volumes, Schepers said."
But for some reason, Metro Ottawa's story on the issue--and Cullen's quote about the tunnel being a 'dead issue'--is titled "Feasibility of tunnel an issue". Go figure.