Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

Ottawa will look at expanding the number of electric buses set to join its transit fleet this fall thanks to additional federal funding.

At a news conference Thursday, Ottawa Center Congresswoman and Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna outlined $ 2.75 billion in federal spending over the next five years to help Canadian cities electrify their transit systems. The funding goes to electric buses for public transport, electric school buses and charging infrastructure.

Mayor Jim Watson joined McKenna and said city staff will bring a report to the Transit Commission before the summer to outline how federal funding could increase the number of electric vehicles Ottawa can add to its fleet.

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The city already announced late last year that it will spend $ 9.3 million on buying four electric buses from Winnipeg-based New Flyer Industries, which will join the OC Transpo fleet later this fall.

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The city planned to spend $ 6 million on the project with the federal public transit infrastructure fund that makes up the rest of the hole.

But Watson said recent federal funding commitments could see the city “significantly” expand its electric bus pilot program.

He positioned the movement against electric buses as a critical part of the city’s climate change initiatives.

“Moving from diesel to electric is helping meet our CO2 emissions,” Watson said Thursday.

He also fought for the environmental impact of another major local infrastructure project, the city’s light rail transit system (LRT).

Earlier this week, city staff revealed that the extension of Phase 2 Trillium Line LRT could face delays of approximately 40 days, but the city is working with contractor TransitNEXT to mitigate any setbacks.

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Ottawa Phase 2 LRT South Extension Against Possible Construction Delays

The trillium line is expected to be completed in August 2022 with a handover in time for the start of the fall semester at Carleton University, one of the main stops on the north-south line.

Watson said Thursday that he was first told of the possible delays a few days before staff released the information at a meeting of the Finance and Economic Development Committee late Tuesday night.

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Asked whether he thought the Trillium Line would see riders by the end of 2022, Watson said he was “very confident” that the Phase 2 expansion would be underway by the end of next year.

The first phase of Ottawa’s LRT system, East-West Confederation Line, was delivered 15 months late in September 2019 following a series of construction delays.

Click to play video: 'No sinkholes are expected on the second stage LRT tunnel, says Ottawa mayor'

No sinkholes are expected on the second stage LRT tunnel, says the mayor of Ottawa

No sinkholes are expected on the second stage LRT tunnel, says Mayor of Ottawa – September 25, 2020

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