Reports of rising cost of transit plan cause concern
Reports that the first phase of the $1.8-billion transit plan couldwind up costing an extra $100 million are setting off alarm bells atQueen’s Park.
Reports that the first phase of the $1.8-billion transit plan could wind up costing an extra $100 million are setting off alarm bells at Queen’s Park.
“Some of the reports suggest they didn’t factor in the cost of a yard or the turning ability of the train on a certain portion of the track,” said Ottawa-West Nepean MPP Jim Watson. “I’m interested in how many other surprises are we going to discover before we actually land on a firm plan with firm numbers.”
The transit committee chairman, Bay Ward Coun. Alex Cullen, acknowledged that cost pressures have arisen due to design changes, but said that is a normal part of any planning process.
Blair Road and Tunney’s Pasture Stations had to be redesigned as transfer stations. The Via Rail transit station required extra work because, unlike the rest of the Transitway, it could not easily be converted to light rail.
The cost of the maintenance yard for the first phase will also likely be higher than estimates, said deputy city manager Nancy Schepers.
“We have to design the maintenance yard appropriately to accommodate that,” said Schepers. “That wouldn’t have been contemplated in the planning numbers.”
Cullen said people should be patient and wait for a report on the costs of the first phase in October.
“What you start with at the initial estimate to what you get at the end, there is always movement in the costs,” said Cullen.
Both the federal and provincial governments have already committed $200 million each to the plan and have indicated they could spend more, but without hearing concrete figures, Watson said it’s difficult to determine their share and how much they could afford.