Months of consultations and debates about the details of Ottawa’s new rapid transit network remain, but for now Mayor Larry O’Brien wants to focus on the big picture.
O’Brien said yesterday he was comfortable with the consideration put into the recommendation by city staff to build a $4-billion, double-axis downtown tunnel and light rail transit network (see front page story), even though some critics believe not enough cost analysis has been done.
But O’Brien said it was necessary to set a target before starting work on the finer points in order to present a plan to attract government funding.
“It’s much more important that we have a system that we can agree on and we are ready to build,” he said. “So when money is allocated from the federal or provincial government, the city … is in a position to take that $300 million and say ‘that’s where it’s going to go.’”
O’Brien does anticipate some “arm wrestling” in the fall when the debate turns to implementation and interim projects, he said.
“That will be the part where councillors will be constantly tugged between the parochial interests of the ward and the citywide interests,” he said.
All details of the project won’t be available until items like the tunnel’s environmental assessment is complete, which could take more than a year.