The city has awarded $360 M in contracts to local firms as part of the $2.1 B Confederation Line LRT project.
Mayor Jim Watson said they are pushing to secure federal and provincial government funding for Phase 2 now because they don't want to lose the momentum built up with Phase 1.
"We have the expertise, we have the skilled workers from Phase 1 here now, so we want to hit the ground running in 2018 once the first phase opens to get on with Phase 2 so we don't have that brain drain going to other cities and other countries," said Watson.
He said roughly 60 per cent of the investment in LRT will stay local. The money that isn't staying in the capital is going to French firm Alstom which is building the cars overseas but assembling them locally and to the European heads of the consortium that won the bid.
The down town tunnel of the Confederation Line is due to be complete at the end of this year with the line opening in 2018.