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(Posted 4:30 p.m., July 27)
Harper government makes $1B pledge to support LRT Stage 2

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Federal government support is the final hurdle to providing sufficient funding for Stage 2 of the LRT project. File photo

The federal Conservatives say they will commit $1 billion towards the construction of the second phase of Ottawa's light rail project pending the necessary applications from the city.

The pledge came by way of a letter from Ottawa-Orléans MP Royal Galipeau. In it, Galipeau says the billion dollar commitment is part of the federal government's new Public Transit Fund which received Parliamentary approval on June 15.

Galipeau, who has been appointed by Harper as the federal government's LRT point man, says the contribution will help ensure that Stage 2 is completed.

"We are able to invest in the Stage 2 Light Rail Transit project while keeping taxes low. This will help families in Ottawa spend more time together rather than more time sitting in gridlock," the statement reads.

The federal commitment is the last piece of the funding puzzle for Stage 2 to proceed. The Ontario Liberal government committed its $1 billion share of the project during the last provincial election.

And while the federal Conservative government's pledge is dependent on their getting re-elected this fall, it is almost a given that the federal Liberals will make a similar commitment during the campaign to avoid suffering the same fate as the Ontario Conservatives in the last provincial election.

During that campaign, then Conservative leader Tim Hudak at first rejected supporting Stage 2 of the LRT project and then made a complete reversal when he realized his position was costing the party votes in local ridings.

Although the federal Liberals have yet to officially throw their support behind Stage 2, Justin Trudeau promised to support more rail in Ottawa back in February 2014.

If all goes well and the funding is in place, Stage 2 of the LRT project would begin sometime in 2018, immediately after the completion of Stage 1 and would extend light rail to Place d'Orléans in the east; the Bayshore Shopping Centre and Baseline Station in the west; and Riverside South.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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