Ottawa Construction News staff writer
Mayor Jim Watson, council members, and representatives from Ottawa’s business, tourism and academic communities united together in July to officially launch the city’s $3 billion LRT Stage 2 funding request to the federal and provincial governments.
The federal government, in a letter sent July 22 from Ottawa-Orleans MP Royal Galipeau, quickly responded with a $1 billion conditional support pledge. Mayor Jim Watson also said that Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne will support the project as part of more than $15 billion earmarked for transit projects outside of Toronto.
The Stage 2 project will further reduce commute times by adding 19 new stations and 30 kilometres of rail to Ottawa’s O-Train system between 2018 and 2023, according to a City of Ottawa news release. From an economic standpoint, the project is expected to generate 24,000 person-years of employment, increase tax revenue to approximately $170 million, and provide an economic output of $3.8 billion to the local economy.
“We are asking our provincial and federal counterparts to continue the great partnership we have established with the Confederation Line,” said Mayor Watson. “It is our hope that our partners will maximize their contributions to the project so we can continue the momentum, and proceed swiftly and confidently with Stage 2 of LRT.”
The city’ funding request is supported by several Stage 2 LRT Project Champions, including the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, the Orléans Chamber of Commerce, Ottawa Tourism, Ottawa MacDonald-Cartier International Airport, the Ottawa-Gatineau Hotel Association, Ottawa Festivals, Algonquin College, Invest Ottawa and several Business Improvement Areas.
In addition, a recent business growth survey by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce indicated that 74 per cent of business owners feel that Ottawa’s LRT expansion will have a positive impact on their businesses.
“Stage 2 of LRT will make Ottawa an even more attractive city to create and grow a business,” said Ian Faris, of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce. “Ottawa is the only G7 capital without a rapid rail system. We need to keep our economy moving by making this smart investment in our future prosperity.”
It has been recently confirmed through environmental assessment work that Stage 2 can be constructed within the $3-billion budget established in the City’s 2013 Transportation Master Plan. The project would extend Ottawa’s O-Train system:
- East: Extend the Confederation Line east from Blair to Orléans, with stations at St.Joseph, Jeanne D’Arc, Orléans Drive, and Place d’Orléans.
- West and southwest: Extend the Confederation Line west to Algonquin College and Bayshore, with stations at Westboro, Dominion, Cleary, New Orchard, Lincoln Fields, Queensview, Pinecrest, Iris, Baseline and Bayshore.
- South: Extend the O-Train to Riverside South and Bowesville, with a new station at Gladstone, and stations at Walkley, South Keys, Leitrim and Bowesville.
When completed in 2023, Stage 2 would bring LRT to within five kilometres of almost 70 per cent of residents, the city’s news release says.
“Reliable transportation is always a key success factor for attracting visitors and major events,” said Geoff Publow, chair of Ottawa Tourism. “Stage 2 of LRT will make it easier for visitors to explore our beautiful city.”
“Stage 2 of LRT will keep Algonquin College students moving for years to come – both from their homes to their classes, and from our campus to their work and co-op placements,” said Laura Stanbra, vice-president of student services at Algonquin College. “This expanded transit service will additionally provide residents with easier access to our student-run learning companies, programs, and services. We are delighted to serve as a Stage 2 Rail Champion and add our full support to the city’s proposal.”
Galipeau’s conditional letter says support decisions will be contingent on the application’s detailed business case, and noted that the project’s formal application still needs to be received and approved.