Mayor confident federal light rail funding is on the way
Published Friday, May 7, 2010 3:37PM EDT
Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien says he's confident the federal government's share of light rail funding will come soon.
The mayor had an informal meeting with federal Transport Minister John Baird when the pair attended a run on Parliament Hill for the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre on Thursday.
The informal talks have led O'Brien to believe the government will announce its portion of funding for the project before the end of June.
"Both he and I are highly confident that things are moving ahead," O'Brien told CTV Ottawa.
The cost of the first phase of the transit project ballooned from an original estimate of $1.4 billion to $2.1 billion. That phase includes building a transit tunnel through downtown Ottawa, as well as laying light rail tracks from Blair Road to Tunney's Pasture.
The Ontario government committed its share of $600 million in funding late last year. The federal share is expected to be the same.
So far, the federal government has committed $200 million to the project. However, additional funding is crucial for the first phase to move forward.
In January, Baird had indicated a federal funding announcement was coming soon. On Thursday, Baird talked to the mayor about the delay.
"He explained to me some of the issues that he is dealing with inside his process," O'Brien said. However, the mayor wouldn't discuss what those "issues" may be.
O'Brien hopes the federal government will make an announcement about the funding before the end of next month.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Stefan Keyes