Trudeau commits funding to Stage 2 of Ottawa's LRT
Widely expected announcement clears the way for Ottawa to break ground on LRT in 2019.
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recommitted federal funding for the second stage of Ottawa’s LRT system Friday, making available up to $1.09 billion to complete the massive project.
The second stage of the system will extend the Confederation Line to Trim Road in the east and Moodie Drive in the west.
It will also include connections to Algonquin College and extend the current O-Train out to the airport.
Trudeau said the funding was a fulfilment of promises made both during the campaign and in the latest federal budget.
“Our government was elected to deliver and we’re following through on those promises today,” he said at a press conference at the Belfast Train Yards
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said the extension would bring rail within five kilometres of 70 per cent of Ottawa’s population, reduce congestion and improve the environment.
“Stage 2 is for the mother and father who will get to spend more time at the dinner table with their families because of reduced commute times.”
With all three levels of government now committed to the project, Watson said, construction will begin in 2019, just after the Confederation Line’s first phase opens. The whole system is scheduled to open in 2023.
This is the second time a federal government has announced support for Ottawa’s LRT project. The first came from the Conservativess in July 2015.
Watson said the Conservative announcement, which he applauded at the time, was not a real commitment
“It was a paper announcement by the previous government — nothing had gone through Treasury Board,” he said.
The Liberal pledge, he said, is “a real announcement with real dollars.”
The current funding structure has the provincial, federal and city governments splitting the project’s costs equally. Watson has advocated for a different arrangement, under which the provincial and federal governments each take on 40 per cent of he burden, with the city assuming the remaining 20 per cent.
He said that, even though that’s not the deal in this case, he’s satisfied.
“We went into this process knowing it was going to be a third,” he said. “We’re quite happy with this.”