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Ottawa Transit Committee OKs $4B mass-transit plan

Downtown tunnel option wins vote 9-1 in first step to 'getting transit right'.

By Jake Rupert

Published in the Ottawa Citizen on May 22, 2008.

The municipality's preferred $4-billion mass-transit system passed its first major hurdle last night when it was endorsed by the city's transportation committee on a vote of nine to one.

It will now go to a full city council vote next week, where it is expected to pass by a healthy margin. In the fall, council is scheduled to decide in what order to build the system, and final approval of the entire transit system and strategy is slated for next spring.

The transit network is being developed along with updated land-use rules. These are being designed to support each other and encourage residential and employment density along transit routes. This is the city's second stab at creating a rapid-transit system in the last few years after the first plan was nixed by council at the last minute.

"This is our chance to move forward with a plan that makes sense and is achievable," said Innes Councillor Rainer Bloess.

If approved and built, the new system would see light rail from Blair Road downtown on the current bus transitway, through a subway across downtown and west to Baseline Road on the western transitway. Another light-rail line would run from LeBreton Flats to Bowesville Road. Bus transitways would connect Orl