Ottawa City Council gave unanimous approval Wednesday to an east-west light rail project dubbed ‘The Confederation Line’.

The 2.1 billion dollar project will pick up passengers on a line from Tunney’s Pasture to Blair Road. It includes a 2.5 kilometre downtown tunnel.

Several councillors called it an historic vote that marks the change of Ottawa from a big town into a big city. Construction on the project will begin early in 2013. Trains are expected to pick up passengers for the first time in 2018.

City Council recently awarded the light rail project to a consortium called the Rideau Transit Group. It will design, build and finance the new light rail system on a fixed price contract.