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Horwath on LRT funding: "I can't say yes at this point"

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath says she "can't say yes" to whether or not her party would be committed to funding phase two of Ottawa's light rail transit construction if her party forms the next government.

During an interview with CFRA host Steve Madely, Madely asked her whether or not her party would commit to funding the next phase of construction for Ottawa's LRT.

"I can't say yes at this point, but I certainly do not believe that Ottawa should wait until, I think a caller told me the plan was now 2038? I think that's pretty far away and not reasonable," she said.

Right now, the city is hoping the construction would start in 2018 and wrap up in 2023.  Horwath didn't elaborate on how she'd expedite the construction process without guaranteeing funding.

"The pressures are significant.  There's a lot of people in the queue in terms of various transit projects," she said.

Last week, the City of Ottawa published the three main party leaders' responses to a series of questions about Ottawa-area issues from Mayor Jim Watson.  In their response, the NDP said the funding would be there.

"An Ontario NDP government will maintain a dedicated fund of $29 billion over 10 years to be distributed fairly across the province for transit and transportation investment," the statement reads. "This includes a commitment to fund the provincial share of Ottawa's Stage2 LRT project."

Both Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak and Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne have called funding phase two a priority.  Hudak previously said the province "can't afford it," but has since said Ottawa would "get its fair share."

 Andrea Horwath later clarified her position by providing this statement to CFRA:

“I’m fully committed to funding Phase 2 of the Ottawa LRT. It’s part of our transit investment plan. That’s what I said to Mayor Watson and that’s what I’m committing to people in Ottawa.”

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