As with all projects in Canada’s Capital, the New LRT line is heavily gold-plated, including a nearly billion dollar, 3.2 km. tunnel under the city. Just a few years ago, Ottawa’s city fathers canceled a 29.7 km., $780 million light rail line contract with Siemens (which cost the city $36.7 million), to build light rail and instead went with a truncated 12.5 km., $2.1 billion subway/Bombardier line. What is interesting though, the new LRT line will save over $100 million in operating costs bus substituting bus services by rail.
With the Broadway transit debate now in full fury, TransLink has yet to offer any real figures for the operating costs of bus; light rail; or metro/subway. Initial figures from Ottawa has shown that LRT can be built quite cheaply, but the quaint Canadian penchant for drastically increasing costs for urban ‘rail’ transit, drives up costs to suit the needs of politicians and bureaucrats.
We know that modern light rail is reasonably inexpensive to build and operate, yet the powers that be still gold-plate transit projects, which doesn’t benefit anyone except suppliers, Engineers, Architects and Union workers, leaving the poor Canadian the taxpayer holding the bag.
LRT to cost $32.7M to operate annually
Published on May 14th, 2010
Ottawa Business Journal
With critics still questioning the affordability of constructing Ottawa’s $2.1-billion light-rail line, a new report says the rapid transit network will cost $981 million to operate over its first three decades.
By 2031, the 12.5-kilometre rail line is estimated to save the city $100 million in operating costs annually as buses are substituted with high-capacity trains that require lower fuel and labour costs, according to a business plan prepared by a consultant for the city.
While the report included the estimated total operating costs added up over 30 years, it did not include any figures for projected revenue, except to say that a detailed operating plan would be drafted at a later date.
However, a city spokesperson noted council has directed that 50 per cent of the LRT’s operating costs be covered by farebox revenues.
The new Tunney’s Pasture-to-Blair Station rail line, including a 3.2-kilometre downtown tunnel, is projected to cost $2.1 billion to construct. Municipal officials had hoped the cost would be split evenly by the three levels of government, but Queen’s Park has only committed $600 million.
Transit committee chairperson Alex Cullen, who is running for mayor is this fall’s municipal election, says the city can pay for the plan even if the federal government only matches the provincial contribution.
“We can well afford to do that,” he said in an interview Friday.
The business plan says that if funding is secured “expeditiously,” preliminary design work would commence this year with construction beginning in 2013, starting with the tunnel and underground stations, and continuing for six years.
The construction project is projected to generate $3.2 billion in economic benefits and create 20,000 person-years of employment.
The 98-page business plan was prepared by Toronto-based Metropolitan Knowledge International in collaboration with Delcan Corp.