Friday, June 29, 2012
So it turns out the the $32-million in gas taxes the city collects from the province every year isn't the only money tied to the troubled Presto payment system. The province's contribution to Ottawa's LRT project -- all $600-million of it -- hinges on the city's Presto participation as well. At least on paper.
A clause within the formal contribution agreement signed between the city and the province last September stipulates the cash is conditional on Ottawa "participating in PRESTO and, as a participant, meeting all of its PRESTO related contractual obligations, including financial obligations."
According to a senior provincial government source, "the clause is a standard one in our agreements designed specifically for the GTA transit systems to promote a seamless single card system. The City of Ottawa requested Presto before we rolled that out."
The source goes on to say: "The City of Ottawa agreed to this clause as part of the negotiation...however if the city would like this clause removed from the light rail contribution agreement at the next contract update we will work with them."
Government sources point out the city asked to be enrolled in the Presto program before it signed the contribution agreement. The document hasn't been made public in its entirety, and likely won't until after the LRT contract is awarded.