Adam: Enjoy Ottawa's new LRT – but think of what might have been

By Mohamed Adam, Ottawa Citizen, September 13, 2019

Ottawa will make a little bit of history Saturday as LRT finally rolls into town – 10 years late. Yes, 10 years, not 17 months, late.

There’s no doubt this marks a significant turning point in Ottawa’s drive to become a major league city. Still, as we celebrate this milestone, think of where we might be today if politics had not intervened in 2006 to derail the north-south LRT that was set to open in 2009. We killed a 29-kilometre, $880-million LRT from Barrhaven to University of Ottawa, for a $2.1-billion, 12.5-km line that goes from Tunney’s Pasture to Blair Road. We lost a decade and got a shorter, more expensive line, albeit with a tunnel. Not what you’d consider value for money.

If we had stuck with the original north-south plan, as we should have, Ottawa would have been so far ahead we would really be talking about transformative public transit today. We would not be debating the Trillium expansion because it would already be reality. Barrhaven would already have LRT. Most likely Kanata would have one as well – not a “maybe in another few years.” Kanata would have been part of the east-west rail to Orléans which was to follow north-south. The city would have had the 10 years it devoted to the Confederation Line to build east-west. There is no reason why federal and provincial governments would not have funded it, given they are funding the $3.6-billion Stage 2 LRT.

Connect with us