With federal funding secured, Ottawa looks to break ground on second LRT phase in 2019

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Hurdman Station, seen under construction this spring.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau re-committed federal funding for the second stage of Ottawa’s LRT system Friday, making available up to $1.09 billion to complete the massive project.

The second stage of the system will extend the Confederation Line LRT to Trim Road in the east and to Moodie in the West.

It will also include connections to Algonquin College and extend the current O-Train out to the airport.

Trudeau said the government pledged to fund transit during the campaign and in the budget and this was the fulfilment of that promise.

“Our government was elected to deliver and we’re following through on those promises today,” he said at a press conference at the Belfast Train Yards

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said the extension would bring rail within five kilometres of 70 per cent of Ottawa’s population, reduce congestion and improve the environment.

“Stage 2 is for the mother and father who will get to spend more time at the dinner table with their families because of reduced commute times.”

With all three levels of government now committed to the project Watson said they’ll be able to start construction in 2019, just after the Confederation Line opens. That should allow the line to fully open in 2023.  

This is the second time a federal government has announced support for the project. The Conservatives announced they would fund it as well in July 2015.

Watson said the Conservative announcement, which he applauded at the time, was not a real commitment and this is.

“It was a paper announcement by the previous government nothing had gone through treasury board,” he said. “This is a real announcement with real dollars.”

The funding structure has the provincial, federal and city government splitting the cost equally. Watson through work with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities has advocated for provincial and federal governments to fund 40 per cent of projects, with cities funding a 20 per cent share.   

He said even though that’s not the deal in this case he’s very comfortable with where they landed.

“We went into this process knowing it was going to be a third,” he said. “We’re quite happy with this.”

This article originally appeared in Metro News.