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Watson likes Ont. Budget, doesn’t want election

Count Mayor Jim Watson as one of the people hoping there is not a provincial election.

Watson said the budget is very good for the city of Ottawa.

"My preference would be that they continue governing,” he said at a news conference shortly after the budget was revealed. “Because the minute this gets passed, this opens up the opportunity for us to finalize a deal with the federal government on ORAP (the Ottawa River Action Plan) and to start the ball rolling for phase two of light rail.”

Specifically, the city has been pushing for the funding to build underground storage tanks and a tunnel in order to prevent sewage overflows. With a price tag of $195 million, the city insists it can't afford it alone and is asking all three levels of government to split it.

He said he is "delighted" that the request is in the budget, except it's not really. The specific funding is not mentioned in the document, but Watson insisted that's a formality only and Ottawa area MPP's will announce the money on Friday.

Watson, a former Liberal cabinet minister, said there is more work to do in order to secure the $65 million share from the federal government.

"We have some work to do in terms of the federal government because they are insisting that any project over $100 million has to go through a P3 screen. That could slow down this project by 6 to 18 months."

The city is currently involved in several P3's, or or public private partnerships, including Lansdowne Park, the light rail route and the Sensplex East.

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