Cash infusion from province pushes up construction of extension to transit hub.
Mayor Jim Watson said the additional funding from the province will mean the project to extend the Transitway tunnel south from Baseline Station can go ahead two years earlier.
A cash infusion from the province has fast-tracked an extension of the transitway near Baseline Station.
Ottawa West-Nepean MPP and provincial Minister of Infrastructure Bob Chiarelli announced on Nov. 1 that the province will allocate $16.6 million to the project that would see the Transitway extend from the tunnel south of Baseline Road to Tallwood Drive, a distance of about 500 metres.
The announcement was made at Algonquin College’s construction trades building, which stands beside the transitway.
“There is a lot of congestion at Baseline Station,” Chiarelli said. “This will help improve the commute for Algonquin students and the western corridor served by the station.
Watson said the city set aside the same amount of money in the 2010-11 capital budget and hopes to get shovels in the ground near the end of 2013. Without the provincial dollars, the project likely would have been delayed until 2015.
The original plan was to have a grade-separated Transitway link from the tunnel and travel south to Norice Street. That won’t happen without money from the federal government.
Chiarelli said the provincial government had slated $12.9 billion for infrastructure in the last budget – compared with $6 billion pledged by the federal government.
The new link will ease bus traffic onto bus-only lanes that run from Baseline Station south to Hunt Club Road.
Chiarelli mentioned the possibility of a public-private partnership between the two levels of government and the college.
“P3 Canada has funding for public-private partnership projects,” he said of the federal program. “There could be a partnership evolving out of this.”
While Algonquin president Kent MacDonald said the college’s isn’t currently putting up cash to fund the extension, he did say a safe, simple commute is important to student.
“Students have said to us that accessibility and transportation are some of their top concerns,” he said. “We can’t do what we’re meant to do if the students can’t get here.” College Coun. Rick Chiarelli said the residents of Centrepointe have helped to shape a vision for the area that included the Centrepointe Theatre expansion and the new archives building on Tallwood. The Transitway is an important piece of that plan, he said.
“A lot of the parking lots will be changed to structures,” he said, adding that will make room in surrounding areas to have buildings with a mix of uses.
“Twenty thousand people from the surrounding community are served by this transit station,” he said. “It will be the transit hub of the west end, handing 250,000 people per day.”