Watson Wildly Over-Estimates POW Bridge Renewal Cost

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The city needs an estimated $75 million to $100 million to upgrade the bridge for rail, based on preliminary estimates, part of which (Mayor Jim) Watson said he hopes to lobby the provincial and federal governments for once funding from both levels of government for the second phase of LRT has been secured.”

Citizen reporter Matthew Pearson on the Prince of Wales Bridge

 

Citizen reporter and investigative specialist Matthew Pearson really needs to stop taking Watson’s words at face value.

If Pearson checked his facts on such an important topic, he would have noticed that last year city manager Steve Kanellakos estimated getting the Prince of Wales Bridge up to speed for light rail would cost between $20 million and $40 million. That means that His Worship’s estimate is as much as five times the cost of the Kanellakos estimate. To check this figure, Pearson should click here for The Bulldog post on the topic.

So why would Watson massively over-estimate the cost of using the POW bridge for light rail?

Never discount that he really doesn’t know. There’s a bit of history of that with Watson.

Or maybe His Worship is just being realistic. After all, anyone who can turn a $700 million light-rail plan into a $2.1 million (or much more) boondoggle can certainly spend five times the necessary cost on repairing the POW bridge. That’s our Jim … budget whiz extraordinaire. Would you buy a used car from this man?

Of course, Watson could just be looking for a lot more money from the senior levels of government so why let the truth get in the way when the city needs funding.

But it gets worse.

Watson has previously said that the POW project would be undertaken when light-rail gets to Kanata or when Halley’s Comet next comes around (the comet business is my little torquing of the facts).

But now Watson has changed his tune. The bridge is on the agenda for after the funding of Phase 2 of light rail is in place. Phase 2 does not include Kanata.

So is Watson zooming Pearson and therefore the taxpayers of Ottawa, is he embellishing the facts to get more senior-level funding or he just doesn’t know?

Hard to say, but none of it is good.

 


 

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One thought on “Watson Wildly Over-Estimates POW Bridge Renewal Cost

  1. It always interests me that Watson feels that the addition to or barring of multi-million dollar capital projects for the city is his decision to make. Has he heard that there is a whole Council of elected representatives of the people of Ottawa who we sent there to deliberate and decide on such things?

    City managaer Steve Kanellakos has probably done a reasonable estimate of the cost of getting the bridge operational again while Watson wants to puff it up to leave room for bells and whistles we don’t need. He’s almost definitely left a “margin of error” that you could drive a train through so that if it comes in at $65 million, he can talk about “on time and on budget” some more. The problem with that is that a real on-time would have seen the bridge opening in the near future as an interim cycling and pedestrian route. Since he’s opposed to that idea, he’s going to do all he can to have people focus on the distant future after the LRT’s completely finished. Remember that long before LRT gets to Kanata and Orleans, there will be calls for it to go further west, south and east as well as over to Gatineau.

    You know, it would make a good viewing place for Halley’s Comet on its next visit which is in 2061. It’s very unlikely the bridge will be serving any other purpose then.

    I had suggested earlier that Prince Charles could open a newly refurbished Prince of Wales Bridge when he’s here for the 150th. I’ll revise that to Prince George’s son presiding over the opening when he’s here for the 200th in 2067 – just a few years after Halley’s Comet passes.

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