The Ontario government is threatening to withhold $ 60 million in funding from Ottawa’s troubled light rail transit system until it is assured that ongoing problems with recent derailments and wheel cracks have been rectified.
A letter was sent to Ottawa’s Railway Construction Director Michael Morgan Tuesday night from the Department of Transportation (MTO) describing the concerns.
The ministry writes that it would like assurances that provincial funding will be used for assets and infrastructure that are secure and meet industry standards.
Full service on the Ottawa LRT is expected in mid-December, the memo says
Ontario contributed $ 600 million to the first phase of Ottawa’s LRT system and $ 1.2 billion to the second phase. The $ 60 million withholding is related to Phase 1 payouts.
The ministry is asking the city to confirm that Canada’s Transportation Safety Boards investigations into the derailments on the stretch in August and September and wheel cracks discovered on some trains last year have been completed and that corrections have either been made or are underway.
The city has until the end of 2021 to send this information to the province.
An independent engineer will also need to certify that any work planned or completed is up to industry standards.
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The ministry’s letter also states that an audit report is outstanding and must be submitted before the $ 60 million is handed over.
City manager Steve Kanellakos said in a comment on Wednesday that the letter is in line with “standard due diligence” from the province and outlines actions already taken to get the line up and running again after the derailment on September 19.
He said the city will provide a “comprehensive response” to the province and will update the council on the steps being taken to restore service later in the week.
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