Only In Ottawa

The commission of public inquiry report on Ottawa’s light rail (LRT) system is out and the results are not pretty. As expected, the report isn’t complimentary towards those in charge of the multi-billion dollar project.

Ordinarily you would expect repercussions for those who made bad, possibly illegal, moves while misleading the public and city council. Too late for that though.

The mayor chose not to run for re-election, possibly because he knew the report would be damning. The head of the municipal transit company retired last year. And just two days before the report was released, the city manager stepped down from his job, a job paying more than $100,000 more annually than the Mayor of Ottawa makes.

You have to wonder why none of thee people didn’t stay to defend their actions. A simple qanswerr might be that they thought their actions were indefensible. Gives new meaning to that phrase I remember from a television ad a few decades ago: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Today though I’m not discussing the report except in noting its release. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, and haven’t done much more than skim the news stories. It has been obvious to me from the beginning thet there were problems, and that no-one was going to acept responsibility for them.

Lost in the fuss is Ottawa’s other LRT route, the original line that was so successful that politicians decided to plunge taxpayer dollars into new a system that still isn’t working properly, even though it is more than three years since trains first rolled down the new tracks.

Line 2 (only in Ottawa would your original train be Line 2) has had fewer problems than Line 1, which opened in 2019, possibly because it runs diesel trains on an already existing rail route. No tunneling or new technology to get used to. Even then it seemed like it was out of service every summer for six to eight weeks of track maintenance.

Line 2 was closed in 2020 for track upgrades, and an expansion further south. As you can see in the photo above, the work was supposed to have been finished already. Six months after the prjected finish date, there is no end in sight, or at least none that I could find on the city’s website. Lots of construction updates, no target completion dates.

I didn:t need the report this past week to tell me no-one knows how to run our transit system. Anyone who has used the system already knew that.

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