Why People Keep Questioning LRT Cost

- May 28th, 2012

I can’t even imagine what the reaction would be at Ottawa City Hall if staff forgot to include the cost of artwork in the LRT plan, like they apparently did in Calgary.

Moreover, blowing the budget by $35 million would surely put Ottawa’s LRT plans off track. An example like Calgary’s keeps people asking Mayor Jim Watson and staff what would happen if Ottawa experiences cost overruns.

The city was faced with the question again last week when we met with officials about the $2.1-billion LRT plan.

Deputy city manager Nancy Schepers answered: “We are structuring (the construction contract) fixed price and through this process we have identified there are risks the city will retain, like property acquisition for instance, but we have made it very clear in the process, these are the risks you are assuming and you, proponent, need to put in your proposal with the full understanding that if that risk manifests itself, you’re on the hook for it. That’s how we’re protecting the city’s interests.”

The City of Ottawa, by the way, has earmarked $10 million for LRT art and here’s what Watson had to say about that.

Picture: The west leg of Calgary’s LRT is currently under construction. Photo by the Calgary Sun’s Jim Wells.

Categories: Transit

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3 comments

  1. johnredd says:

    Just wondering how much cost overrun on the riverside transit project. Then how much debt we have to fulfil election promises of 2m5 percent. Just curious

  2. tim stevens says:

    Just wondering, Why are we building a short line in a tunnel that just duplicates existing service? At a cost that far exceeds other light rail projects?

    Calgary apparently has the most successful light rail system in North America. They use surface rail through downtown. Yet their transit share of trips is lower than in Ottawa. (Statcan)

    Edmonton has a much lower transit use than Calgary and Ottawa. They started with a short line downtown in a tunnel. They have only recently been expanding the lines (at surface).

    Waterloo region recently got $818 million in funding to build a 19 km of surface light rail plus 17 km of bus rapid transit lines.

  3. peter gomes says:

    I’m still wondering why we’re going to light rail when we have a perfectly functional rapid bus system. Also why are we going to spend billions as the federal govt. moves offices out of the downtown core? It seems that our council has boxed themselves into light rail and steadfastly refuse to entertain the notion of improving and expanding the bus system. To rip up the city and build tunnels, etc is not going to solve the traffic gridlock on the 417 e and w. If an accident or (god forbid) a terrorist act were to happen in a tunnel, the loss of life is multiplied as is the risk to EMS personnel. Why can’t we expand our roadway system to deal with the increased traffic so cars and buses can share it and stick with a bus system that operates well even in the winter?

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