$3.87B network plan’s accuracy questioned
The up to $3.87-billion price tag attached to Ottawa’s new transit plan is either inflated or optimistic, depending on whom you ask.
Transit advocacy groups responding to the release of Ottawa’s Rapid Transit Network proposals yesterday differed on what it would cost, with David Jeanes of Transport 2000 saying the downtown tunnel will ring in much cheaper, but David Gladstone of Friends of the O-Train suggesting Ottawa can’t afford any of the options.
Jeanes said Ottawa has exaggerated the cost to construct a downtown tunnel and convert the Transitway to light rail. "There is no way a two-kilometre downtown tunnel should cost a billion dollars. I don’t even think it would cost half as much," he said.
Jeanes believes a train-only subway would cost much less than a bus-only tunnel, yet the city report states it would cost more.
But since the Transitway was designed to eventually convert to light rail, Jeanes said it could be done for less than the city estimates. By completing three-kilometre segments gradually it could be completed with little disruption to the Transitway, he said.
Gladstone does not believe the city can afford any of the options and questioned whether other governments would support a plan that had "back-of-the-envelope" estimates.
"The feds and the province have said they will only cough up money if the city has a sound business case," he said.
"We didn’t have a sound case with the last one and this new plan is of the same nature."
Public open houses into the four transit options continue this week.