CANADA: The Ontario provincial government on December 18 announced a C$600m contribution to Ottawa’s C$2·1bn rail plan. The federal government is also expected to make a substantial grant but has yet to decide how much; so far it has committed C$200m. Local officials are hoping for a total of C$600m, with the balance coming from the city.

Most of the money will be spent on light rail, starting with a 13-station 12·5 km route linking Tunney’s Pasture and Blair Road. The most expensive section will be a 3·2 km, four-station tunnel under downtown between LeBreton Flats and the University of Ottawa. Construction of the project should begin in 2012.

‘In Ottawa we’ve talked a lot about moving forward with rapid transit’, said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty at a news conference announcing the provincial funding. ‘Today, together, we take a giant step towards making our shared vision a reality. We are making the biggest transit investment in Ottawa’s history.’

Two days earlier, the city council’s transport committee approved the LRT plan and tunnel design. The full council will discuss the plan on January 13. If it approves the plan as expected, the Environmental Assessment process can begin.