The city can begin buying property for its light rail rapid transit line as early as January.

The majority of the $2.1-billion, 12.5-kilometre electric light rail line from Tunney’s Pasture to Blair Station will follow or run beneath the Transitway.

The city will have to acquire land around some transit stations in order to build. While the land around the stations is federally owned parkland, the maintenance yard near St. Laurent is privately owned industrial space.

If city council approves the planning and environmental assessment study, which was released Thursday, a six-month expedited environmental assessment would begin almost immediately.

Actual construction on the project is still a few years away. Deputy city manager Nancy Schepers said they are not expecting to break ground on a tunnel until late in 2012 or even 2013.

There were arguments that the first line should end at Bayview, since there are still questions about whether the National Capital Commission would allow the city to run tracks down the Western River Parkway.

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