So You Think We're Getting A Tunnel Eh
Now the Mayor of Windsor likes talking about "quality of life" issues and how we deserve the best in Windsor. That's a lot easier to talk about rather than actually doing something but that is another story.
I was really interested in the Star Editorial the other day too---"Air Quality: City needs corridor study." I was racking my brains trying to remember during my STOPDRTP days, when the Star supported the building of that truck expressway through the heart of Windsor along the DRTP corridor, how many times the Star advocated that there should be "air testing" along that route. It's so nice to see that they are concerned over this issue.
While they are at it, perhaps the Star could ask the Mayor/ Windsor Tunnel Commission Chair to do an air quality study downtown too around the Heritage-designated Tunnel ventilation building since that building has no scrubbers to clean the air coming out of the City-owned Tunnel. If it is bad, then I am sure that the City will authorize the WTC to spend more millions on that. Heck, they are going to increase tolls anyway.
Now the guys and gals with the dollars to spend on this are the Feds notwithstanding that Dwight Duncan threw around 500 million of Gong Show dollars that will be dragged out when he needs them for re-election purposes. Some of those bureaucrats may actually read the Ottawa Sun (for the news, not the Sunshine Girl pictures!) If they read it on May 31 ,they will have read a story about cost over-runs for the Ottawa light-rail transit line.
There are only so many dollars to go around after all. If DRTP admits, as an example, that a tunnel on its corridor will cost $2 billion, if the Tunnel group suggested a cost of $2.5 billion and the Cansult people suggested up to $300 per km, then the Mandarins will know that a tunnel in Windsor will go sky high by the time it is done.
Who will want his/her name on the cost projection for a Big Dig for Windsor? Heck, they have to commit money for a Toronto subway extension that will go substantially over-budget. There are more seats to be won in the 905 area code at election time than the 2 seats in Windsor so you know where that cash will go.
And if Health Canada now "reported that high traffic levels -- and the increased air pollution they bring -- correlated to few adverse health effects in children between grades one and eight" then so much for the need for a tunnel and Eddie's "quality of life" election platform.
- Tab for light-rail line closes in on $900M
By DEREK PUDDICOMBE, OTTAWA SUN
THE FINAL cost of building the north-south light-rail transit line could be nearly $900 million.
That's after factoring in about $124 million worth of LRT-related projects, on top of the $725 million approved by council -- plus unforeseen costs that could total "tens of millions."
Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Diane Deans said the list of projects and associated costs related to the construction of the line will bump up the real cost of the project considerably.
They're projects Deans said city staff have confirmed are being added or accelerated to support the LRT project, but are not included in the original price tag.
"The cost of putting the rail on the ground has triggered a whole other chain of events," said Deans. "Council are aware there are ancillary costs, but I wanted them itemized. I wanted them (staff) to make it clear."
Deans said some projects are being "advanced of their need."
Projects include almost $66 million worth of construction to build a bridge across the Rideau River to join the Riverside South community to Barrhaven.
Another $22 million will be spent on improving two east and west transit transfer stations and an automated fare collection system. About $9 million will finance the rehabilitation of the sewer network below Albert and Slater streets.
Deans said some projects would have proceeded according to plan. But in an e-mail to Deans, Barry Townsend, manager of the city's light-rail implementation division, says "others are generated by the LRT project."
A City Hall source told the Sun city staff are negotiating with Siemens/PCL-Dufferin, the preferred partner, to build the rail line, but may have run into a problem over the cost of relocating utility lines belonging to Bell, Sprint and Rogers buried underneath Albert and Slater streets. That could bump up the original $725-million budget by millions of dollars.
"This could cost tens of million of dollars," the source said.
Rejean Chartrand, the city's director of economic development and strategic projects, confirmed that the lines are located directly beneath the proposed LRT route and that the city doesn't have a final cost on moving them, but "it is substantial."
A cost-sharing arrangement under Ontario's Public Service Works on Highways Act states the city is responsible for 40% of the relocation costs, while the company is responsible for the balance.
Earlier this week, Mayor Bob Chiarelli said the city and the preferred partner are facing challenges on the road to meeting the budget target. He pointed to the revised plan to take a single track into the heart of Barrhaven -- the original plan called for the line to stop short of the growing community.
"We are wrestling with the numbers," said Chiarelli, adding he expects about a 2% variance in the budget when negotiations are complete. "We're in the ballpark."
Construction of the north-south line is expected to break ground this fall and be completed in 2009."