Federal government commits to funding LRT Stage 2
Ottawa's Light Rail Transit cleared a major hurdle Friday.
The city's major infrastructure received a big financial boost from the federal government ensuring the viability of the project.
At the Belfast Rail Yard on Friday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government is committed to helping Ottawa extend its light rail. As laid out in the 2017 federal budget, the federal government will give the city more than $1.15 billion to help offset the costs of expanding the LRT network.
"It's a project that will create jobs, nearly 1,000 full-time jobs for people here in Ottawa," Trudeau said.
Provincial Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli was at the funding announcement Friday and said his government's financial commitment is firm.
At a price tag of $3.6 billion, Stage 2 LRT is poised to become the biggest infrastructure project in the city's history. It was approved unanimously by council in March.
The project also includes a link to the Ottawa-MacDonald International Airport. The airport authority will pay to build a station on its premise while the federal and provincial governments will provide the funds necessary to build the airport LRT spur.
According to the city of Ottawa, travel between the downtown core and the Airport will take approximately 40 minutes and require two transfers, one at South Keys and one at Bayview Station.
Travel time from Moodie Station to the Airport will take approximately 55 to 60 minutes, while the return trip from the Airport to Moodie Station would be approximately 50 to 55 minutes.
Air travellers heading to the Airport from Trim Station can expect a trip of approximately 65 minutes, with a return trip estimated at approximately 60 minutes, the city said.
Funding for this project has been in the works for years. Back in 2015, the Conservative Government pleged up to $1 billion to fund stage two. Asked about the campaign promise, Watson said Friday's federal committment is different.
"This announcement is different because it's actually real money," Watson said in a post-presentation interview. "It was a paper announcement by the previous government, nothing went through Treasury Board. Actually the program announced by the previous government didn't even exist."
Stage 2 LRT will also include work to widen Highway 174 and Highway 417 from Maitland Avenue to the connection at Highway 416, and an extension to Trim Road in the East. The mayor said some of that work has already begun.
The city expects shovels to be in the ground on Stage 2 by 2019.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said that once completed, more than 70 per cent of Ottawa's population will live within 5 kilometres of an LRT station.
Stage 2 will add 30 kilometres of track and 19 new stations on the O-train line.