The downtown tunnel for trucks gets more bizarre by the day.
Bad enough that Mayor Jim Watson and a cadre of local politicians nixed the much-studied $1-billion Kettle Island bridge for a $2-billion truck tunnel.
Bad enough that the point of spending huge money on such infrastructure was to finally get trucks carrying dangerous materials out of downtown but, as The Bulldog has been saying for months, Watson too late in the game has discovered that dangerous materials can’t use the tunnel. Accordingly big trucks carrying gasoline and propane will continue to trundle through downtown. So for $2 billion, Ottawa doesn’t solve the problem the city and the public was intending to remedy.
Photo above: Mayor Jim Watson should have known in the beginning that trucks carrying dangerous materials can’t use a tunnel.
Now the mayor tells us we will have to pay tolls at the tunnel which does not solve the problem for which it was intended. A continuing legacy for the people of Ottawa of the triumph of Watson political expediency over common sense and practicality.
A very defensive Watson then tells the media that there is no use discussing the Kettle Island bridge because that is absolutely off the table. It’s understandable that the mayor doesn’t want any more discussion on the Kettle Island option because it makes him look incompetent.
Watson should have known trucks carrying dangerous materials could not use a tunnel, should not be spending $2 billion on a $1-billion solution and should not be building an unnecessary tunnel and then charge taxpayers fees to use it. Now he knows these things and still continues with the proposal. It’s Watson’s way … right or wrong. And this is very wrong.
One more ‘shouldn’t’. The people of Ottawa should not have voted a person into office who doesn’t understand what massive municipal debt can cause, who doesn’t understand how to balance the operating budget and wants to build a $2-billion tunnel that doesn’t solve the problem it was designed to remedy.
This blunder tops the cost of the huge mistakes of the Orgaworld contract, Airport Parkway pedestrian bridge, Strandherd Bridge, downtown and Highway 174 sinkholes combined and many times over. And transportation committee approves asking the other levels of government for money.
Instead we have a mayor who thinks that being in office is a four-year election campaign, a big party (witness Ottawa 2017 with its huge, secret budget) and by his own admission doesn’t like to spend time in his office.
This has to end before Ottawa gets itself buried in debt … if it hasn’t already.
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