Wynne outlines Ottawa transit plan, Horwath promises $140 million

Ontario Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne speaks to reporters Thursday alongside Ottawa Liberal Party candidates.
Ontario Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne speaks to reporters Thursday alongside Ottawa Liberal Party candidates. Christopher Whan / Global News

Ontario Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne stopped by Walkley yards in the city’s south end Thursday to outline her government’s plan for its investment to Ottawa’s LRT.

Wynne spoke alongside fellow Liberal candidates for Ottawa and said that the funding promised from the Ontario government will be used for the phase 2 extension of the LRT system.

Specifically outlined at the event Thursday was a two-stop spur from the Trillium Line to Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, a one-stop extension of the Confederation Line further east from Place-d’Orléans Station to Trim Road in Orléans, as well as a 3.4-kilometre extension of the Trillium line to a new terminus station near Limebank Road, in Riverside South.

READ MORE: LRT delay costs offset by savings, city confirms; OC Transpo predicts fewer layoffs after LRT opens

Wynne also spoke of her time living in the Netherlands in the late 1970s and said she admired the high priority that the Dutch had put on public transit over cars.

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“Having grown up in a suburb of Toronto, in North America where transit is not a priority through the 20th century, that was my first experience of really living with transit that was more convenient than driving,” said Wynne. “I always talked about how we have to get to the point in our communities where its actually easier to take transit than it is to get in the car.”

Premier Wynne was not the only leader to speak to transit funding in Ottawa as provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath promised that if the NDP is elected it would pledge $140 million in 2018 toward net operating costs of OC Transpo on top of the capital commitment of phase 2 for LRT construction.

“In the past, the province paid 50 per cent of net operating expenses for municipal transit across the province,” said Andrew Schwab. “This funding was cut under the Harris government, and never restored in 15 years by the Liberals. Only the NDP has promised to restore the 50 per cent share of net operating funding – which for Ottawa would be about $140 million.”

So far, Doug Ford has pledged to continue the province’s contributions of $1 billion for phase 2 should his party be elected.