LRT: Not On Time, Not On Budget, Out Of Control

Want to know how much the City of Ottawa is overspending on light rail. It’s astonishing.

Gatineau wants to build a line from Aylmer to downtown for around $800 million.

Ottawa’s Confederation Line, without the tunnel costs, about $1.4 billion.

If you compare the length of the two line without Ottawa’s tunnel, Gatineau is amazingly much more affordable.

If $800 million is correct in Gatineau’s estimates, the Quebec line costs about $43 million per kilometre.

Ottawa’s without the tunnel costs $112 million per kilometre. And remember, the Ottawa line for much of the route is on an unobstructed route, the Transitway.



So the Gatineau line is only 38 per cent of the cost per kilometre of the Confederation Route.

Ottawans now have another touchstone with which to measure their gold-plated LRT against.

First, the Chiarelli plan showed that Mayor Jim Watson’s creation was massively overpriced. So too the Confederation Line against the Gatineau plan. Ottawa’s LRT is out of control. Add to that the Confederation Line is not on time or on budget and the city can’t enforce penalties against the builders because of a contract glitch.

And increasingly, the Confederation Line doesn’t look as though it will be ready by November, the date of the extension of the current time line.

All this not enough? We discover that the much-touted sewage tunnel that promises to improve the quality of the Ottawa River is six months late. At present, the cost of that project is $232 million though it will be interesting to see if the delays increase the cost.

The Confederation Line and the sewage tunnel are enormous projects that dwarf other cost issues. At budget time, councillors fought over a piddly $10 million to much much media ballyhoo. That buys you about nine per cent of one kilometre of the LRT project.

The city’s, the media’s and public’s priorities are badly skewed.

Spending and administration under the administration of the current mayor are badly out of control.

So much for Mister Two-Per-Cent. Pity the next mayor who has to clean up after this horrible mess.


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