Ottawa

It's official: City finally takes control of LRT

The City of Ottawa has officially taken over the $2.1-billion LRT system, paving the way for the public launch of the Confederation Line on Sept. 14.

Rideau Transit Group has successfully handed over Confederation Line — more than 460 days late

Bayview station will be the meeting point between the current O-Train and the new Confederation Line. (City of Ottawa)

The City of Ottawa has officially taken over the $2.1-billion LRT system, paving the way for the public launch of the Confederation Line on Sept. 14.

The handover comes more than 460 days later than the original deadline of May 24, 2018.

Rideau Transit Group (RTG), the consortium building the Confederation Line, submitted its final paperwork last week. On Friday, the city said it had passed on the documents to its independent auditors for final review.

On Tuesday morning, the city's transportation manager, John Manconi, sent a memo to council to announce the "revenue service availability" — a milestone that indicates that the LRT is ready for public use.

Sept. 14 launch

The milestone means the city must make its final $202-million payment to RTG.

City officials have said they'll hold back a significant portion of that payment including $4 million in penalties for four missed deadlines, and approximately $32 million for detours and other costs.

"That's the leverage we have. Whether that ends up in court, who knows," said Mayor Jim Watson on Tuesday, adding he hopes for a mediated settlement.

"We want to make sure the expenses we've incurred as a result of their delays are not borne by the taxpayers."

For now, Watson is looking ahead to opening day. The public can ride the rails as of 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14.

"I've been asked all weekend, 'Are you sure it's Sept. 14?'" Watson said. "We're going to be ready, or I'll be run out of town on [a rail], I think."

With files from Joanne Chianello and Kate Porter

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