OTAG weighs in on NCC Parkway LRT debate

June 14, 2011


Ottawa Taxpayer Advocacy Group


Echoing former City Councillor Gord Hunter’s long-time call to drop the Ottawa River Parkway from their list of Light Rail options, The Ottawa Taxpayers Advocacy Group (OTAG) called on Mayor Watson to make good on his commitment to revisit the LRT project if the costs became excessive. “We are treated regularly to updates of scope reductions and cost escalations”, said Mike Maguire, finance critic for OTAG. “Even though it seems unlikely this project will remain within its projected budget, the City continues to move ‘full steam ahead’ with its current plan.

Last month Ottawa City Council voted to fast-track the LRT project in order to be ready for Ottawa’s 150th Birthday celebration in 2017. “We are at the very beginning of this project and we are already running into major design changes, says OTAG President Kevin MacDonald. “If the goal is to build a cost effective transit system, the City needs to broaden its scope and consider all possible options.”


“Gord Hunter had it right when he said the NCC would never consider rail on the Parkway”, said Maguire. Since the NCC has repeatedly discounted the Parkway option, it would seem the Transit Committee is a little slow on the uptake. “We’re wasting time and money discussing something that will never happen. Instead, the City needs to focus on achieving attainable objectives if it wants to keep this project to be on time and on budget.”


OTAG believes Ottawa’s transit discussion needs to go beyond a multi-billion dollar tunnel/LRT to include other affordable alternatives like re-using existing rail lines and rail right-of-ways within the City to ensure the project stays on track.


“The City needs to answer the question of how it can best build an effective and affordable transit system—a system that will deliver Ottawa taxpayers the best bang for our buck,” Maguire says. “Committing to one technology solution like electric LRT limits the City’s options. We would like to see the City of Ottawa explore all its options.”


The Ottawa Taxpayer Advocacy Group (OTAG) is a non-profit organization advocating for responsible fiscal management at Ottawa City Hall on behalf of all Ottawa taxpayers.

For more information, please contact:


Mike Maguire
Municipal Finance Critic
Ottawa Taxpayer Advocacy Group
Telephone: (613) 277 4829
Email: mike.maguire@rogers.com


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