News

 

Hudak says no to funding stage 2 of Ottawa LRT

One day after Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne promised the second phase of Ottawa's light rail transit project would be a priority if her party is elected June 12, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak is saying a Tory government would not ante up the funds.

He was specifically asked by a reporter, "Are you going to fund LRT in Ottawa? Phase 2 (the city) is looking for $1 billion between 2017 and 2023."

"No, we can't afford it," Hudak replied. "Look, we'll continue with the funding that's been discussed in this budget for the first phase. But if you're asking me have I've discovered a new bucket of money on the drive here to Ottawa, the answer is no."

Construction on the first stage is already underway and includes rail from Blair Road to Tunney's Pasture and a downtown tunnel. The city hopes work on the next portion would start in 2018 and add another 30 kilometres of rail to the east, west and south. That plan is contingent on getting close to $1 billion from both the provincial and federal government.

Hudak warned voters not to be fooled by pledges from other parties.

"I know the Liberals and probably the NDP will make promises that they know they can't afford. They'll do so to try to win votes and they'll probably look at you in the eye and they'll be convincing, they're good actors that way. But they give you the same acting routine if they get elected and they'll say, 'Well, the cupboards are bare.' And I would give more credibility to that type of promise if the Liberals weren't making the same promise in every community they visited. Look, if you're bankrupt, you can't run around acting like you won the lottery. It's just not credible."

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says he's disappointed.

"I'm surprised that he would be turning his back on the citizens of Ottawa, who deserve [the same] treatment when it comes to transit [as] the people of Toronto," he said.

Watson adds that millions of dollars are spent every year on infrastructure and it's not fair for Hudak to dismiss Ottawa's needs in a bid to save money.

Seven hours after making the comments, Hudak took to Twitter to refute what he previously said.

"Some have tried to misrepresent my consistent position on Phase 2 of the Ottawa LRT. First priority is balancing the budget. Only after the budget is balanced can we afford infrastructure investment like the Ottawa LRT. I look forward to a detailed proposal."

Speaking at Icor Technology in the city's south end, Hudak warned voters not to be fooled by pledges from other parties.

"I would give more credibility to that type of promise if the Liberals weren't making the same promise in every community they visited," he said. "If you're bankrupt, you can't run around acting like you won the lottery. It's just not credible."

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says he's disappointed.

"I'm surprised that he would be turning his back on the citizens of Ottawa, who deserve [the same] treatment when it comes to transit [as] the people of Toronto," he said.

Watson adds that millions of dollars are spent every year on infrastructure and it's not fair for Hudak to dismiss Ottawa's needs in a bid to save money.

Leave a comment:

· Subscribe to comments
Be the first to comment here!