Thursday, March 20, 2014

City objects to funding (and not getting) LRT

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Light rail transit destined to serve Ontario's Waterloo Region will include financial contributions from Cambridge, Ont., even though that municipality won't benefit from any LRT service at the onset.

The C$1.9 billion (US$1.7 billion) project, designed to serve neighbors Waterloo and Kitchener, has frustrated Cambridge officials, who note their municipality will be offered a 10.5-mile Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route first, with the promise of the route being converted to LRT sometime in the future.

Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig has sought to make his constituents liable for payment only for the bus services. "Each of the municipalities [should be] area-rated for what they get," Craig told local media Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

But Ken Seiling, chair of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, rejected the suggestion, as did the full regional body on a 13-to-2 vote. A second vote Wednesday affirmed, 11-to-4, the awarding of a design-build-operate-maintain (DBOM) contract to the GrandLinq consortium, given the go-ahead earlier this month. Construction is expected to start this summer.