QUEEN’S PARK - After the Ottawa LRT was derailed with no return date for service, NDP MPP Joel Harden (Ottawa Centre) called on Doug Ford to support his call for an Auditor General investigation into the rapid transit debacle during question period on Wednesday.
On Sept. 19, a Confederation Line train derailed, damaging both the car and track.
“Ottawa’s LRT has gone off the rails, literally and figuratively,” said Harden. “Thankfully, no one was injured, but the entire system has been out of commission for three weeks, adding hours to many people’s commute times. No date has been provided for yet for when service will resume.
“I’m angry and so are residents. We were promised a functional rapid transit system, but instead we got a lemon. This derailment is only the latest in a string of failures, from door and brake problems, to trains having trouble functioning in winter.
“The Ford government can't just pass the buck."
“This government and the last government pushed for this to be a P3 privatization project. The LRT is provincially-funded. The Liberal MPP Stephen Blais was the chair of transit for Ottawa who contributed to this mess. Yet the Ford Conservatives and the Liberals are sitting silent while Ottawa commuters suffer”
Harden said the investigation is needed to provide answers because the province’s 30-year private maintenance contract with Rideau Transit Group is shrouded in secrecy, with councillors unable to get answers about what keeps going wrong with the trains.
“The Ford government and the Liberals before them pushed a public-private partnership (P3) model to construct Ottawa’s LRT that is failing the people of Ottawa who are stuck paying the price and still waiting for their train,” said Harden.
“The people of Ottawa deserve answers and need to know when this premier is going to help fix Ottawa’s broken LRT system.”
Infrastructure Ontario acted as P3 commercial procurement advisor to the City of Ottawa, and Harden called on Doug Ford and his government to stop promoting these disastrous private P3 contracts that cost residents more and provide less reliable service.