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(Posted 6:30 a.m., June 5)
Liberal leader makes campaign stop in Orléans to tout LRT Phase 2

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Ontario Premier and Liberal leader adresses supporters during a stop over at the Marie-France lalonde campaign headquarters in Orléans as the local candidate looks on . Fred Sherwin/Photo

Ontario Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne dropped by the campaign office of Ottawa-Orléans candidate Marie-France Lalonde on Wednesday to pledge her party's support for the second phase of Ottawa's light rail transit system.

Speaking in front of a jam-packed room of local Liberal supporters, Wynne said the Liberals would re-introduce the 2014 budget if re-elected which commits $29 billion over the next 10 years in transportation infrastructure across the province, $14 billion of which is earmarked for projects outside the Greater Toronto Area including Phase 2 of the Ottawa LRT.

Phase 2 of the Ottawa LRT includes an extension of the eastern portion of the system from Gloucester Centre to Place d'Orléans. Construction would begin sometime after the completion of Phase 1 in 2018.

Wynn warned that a Conservative government would refuse to share the cost of the Phase 2 in favour of providing additional funding to the Toronto subway.

"A re-elected Liberal government will make Phase 2 of Ottawa's transformational LRT transit expansion a priority," said Wynne. "Tim Hudak's idea of a transit plan for Ontario is a three-stop subway for Toronto. "He wants to take your LRT and plunk it down as a subway in downtown Toronto. For Liberals that is just not on. Not happening. No way."

The Liberal government is already providing $600 million toward the cost of Phase 1. The federal governmen is providing an additionl $600 million, leaving the city to pay for the balance of the $2.1 billion project.

The early estimate for Phase 2 is in the $3 billion range. Which means the federal government and the province would have to kick in a billion each to maintain the three-way partnership.

Wynne's visit had the effect of firing up the Ottawa-Orléans election team which is in a neck and neck battle with local Conservative candidate Andrew Lister. The local race is a reflection of the provincial campaign which is still too close to call. About the only thing that is certain is that Ontario will once again have a minority government.

Election day is Thursday June 12, although many advance polls are currently open.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

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