$1B from province to extend LRT to airport, Trim Road

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne this morning announced the province is kicking in more than $1 billion in funding for phase two of Ottawa's light rail system.

Funding part of more than $1B province is committing to Phase 2 of LRT

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson shows Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne a map of phase two of Ottawa's light rail system. Wynne announced the province is contributing more than $1 billion to fund the project. (Kate Porter/CBC)

The province is kicking in more than $1 billion in funding for phase two of Ottawa's light rail system, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced this morning.

The funds will pay for half the cost of creating a spur line to the Macdonald-Cartier International Airport in the city's south end, something people have pushed for but the City of Ottawa had said it could not afford.

The provincial funding will also allow for eastern tracks to be built beyond the planned terminus at Place d'Orléans and along to Trim Road, where there is a park-and-ride lot and the Alphonse-Desjardins campus of La Cité college.

The city still needs the federal government to fund the other half of those two new extensions, to the tune of $158 million, as well as a third of the cost of the $3 billion plan for the second phase of light rail.

The initial plan for phase two was to add 30 kilometres of new track to the first phase of light rail system expected to open in 2018, in addition to 19 new stations. The extensions announced this morning will add 6.5 kilometres of track and three extra stations — at the EY Centre, the airport and Trim Road. 

Construction on phase two is expected to start in 2018 and be ready for passengers in 2023.

The province previously contributed $600 million toward the $2.1 billion first phase of the light rail project, known as the Confederation Line: a 12.5-kilometre track that will run from Tunney's Pasture to Blair Station.

With provincial and federal money, the second phase of Ottawa's light rail plan would take light rail west to Bayshore, east to Trim Road and south to Riverside South, with a spur line to the airport by 2023. (City of Ottawa)