Ontario is ponying up $1 billion to expand Ottawa's light rail transit system.
Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement from Ottawa on Friday morning, calling the funding the province's biggest transit investment made to date in the city. That amounts to 30 kilometres of new rail and 19 stations expanded east, west and south, and includes a two-stop spur to the city airport and an extension to the eastern suburb of Orleans. LRT construction for the second stage begins in 2018 and service is expected to start sometime in 2023. The province has already doled out $600 million for stage one, otherwise known as the Confederation Line.
"It’s the 'what have you done for me lately' that I hear from Mayor [Jim] Watson," Wynne quipped.
That $1 billion will come from revenue made from the part sell-off of Hydro One, which Wynne called a "tough but necessary" decision. "The PCs and NDP can grandstand on Hydro One to their heart's desire; what they're defending is a status quo that was not working," she said.
Wynne was flanked by a who's who of Liberals in Ottawa, including Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca, Energy Minister and so-called "father of the O-train" Bob Chiarelli, as well as Ottawa MPPs Marie-France Lalonde and Corrections Minister Yasir Naqvi. Also in attendance was ex-MPP and current Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson with his entire city council in tow, and Liberal MP Andrew Leslie.
Last summer, the former federal government had also earmarked $1 billion for stage two of the Ottawa LRT.
To contact the reporter on this story: