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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

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Tim Tierney



 

 

 

   


(Posted 1:30 p.m., March 28)
Federal budget commits $1.15B to LRT expansion

By Mike Beasley
The Orléans Star

The federal government says it is committed to funding Phase 2 of Ottawa’s light rail project, referring to it by name in last week’s budget announcement. And while they didn’t attach a dollar amount to their commitment, Mayor Jim Watson says he’s been assured they will pay their full share, amounting to $1.15 billion.

The money, combined with funding al-ready promised by the Province of Ontario, will enable the city to begin construction of Phase 2 immediately following the completion of Phase 1 sometime in 2018.

The second stage of the LRT project includes an extension from Blair to Trim Road down the middle of Hwy. 174.

Orléans MPP Andrew Leslie, was in a jovial mood when he was asked what impact the budget would have on the average resident in his riding, especially as it pertains to light rail.

“First and foremost is transportation, the biggest impact of this budget and most immediate one is that we’ve got the funding for light rail out to Trim (Road),” Leslie proudly stated.

The funding Leslie is referring to consists of $3.9 billion to be allocated over the next five years, primarily for transit projects in Ottawa and Toronto, including the $1.15 billion for Stage 2 of the Ottawa’s light rail project.

An additional $7 billion has been set aside for childcare, which could mean the creation of 40,000 new subsidized childcare spaces over the next three years nation-wide. It is expected that some of those spaces would be
created in Ottawa.

Maternity leave is being extended from 12 to 18 months, and mothers can now claim EI up to 12 weeks before their baby is due.

Additional monies are being set aside for caregivers of disabled or sick family members, which Leslie says was long overdue.

“There are thousands of families in the riding in this situation. We are allocating multiple billions of dollars in the form of tax credits to help those who stay home to take care of their loved one,” said Leslie.

Affordable housing in Orléans was another issue that Leslie feels has been
properly addressed with the needed funding, soon to be in place.

The Liberal government is coughing up $11 billion over the next 10 years directly to affordable housing.

Leslie also expressed his satisfaction with the government’s intent of making everybody’s lives better in terms of putting more money in their family’s pockets.

The retired Canadian Forces lieutenant-general and current MP, is impressed with the most recent budget and its efforts to reduce taxes on the middle class, and improve the Canada child tax benefit, which in his words, “will certainly help the vast majority of families in Orléans.”

As a former general in the military, Leslie was particularly happy with the announcement that there will be a $500-million infusion towards veteran’s programs.

“In addition to the millions of dollars being directed to veterans, we are close to making an announcement about education programs to help those vets with certain amount of years of service retrain and retool for life after the forces,” says Leslie.

The Liberal government will also fund the Mental Health Centre of Excellence, provide more money to families for medical support who are equally affected by their loved ones trauma.

“We are also exploring the options of a lifelong pension. It’s not quite there yet but it is in the budget,” adds the MP.

Orléans Ward Coun. Bob Monette is extremely pleased that the budget contains spending directed towards the region, especially the funding earmarked for LRT.

“I have to thank our federal member, Andrew Leslie for all his efforts, he really delivered when it came to Stage 2 funding for light rail,” says Monette.
“In addition we received approval for the 174 expansion, so by 2022 the employment landscape of our community will change significantly because of the combined value of light rail and ease of access for businesses and employees.”

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

 

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