Ford to formally pledge province's share of LRT Stage 2

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is expected to formally announce $1.2 billion in provincial funding for Ottawa's light rail expansion during a news conference at an east-end train yard Friday morning.

City officials were expecting the Progressive Conservatives to honour the former Liberal government's pledge to help extend the city's initial LRT network to the eastern, western and southern suburbs, adding 44 kilometres and 24 stations 

Ford had voiced support for the light rail expansion during last spring's provincial election, and Mayor Jim Watson has been optimistic that the money was on its way.

"We've had a number of really great conversations, the premier and I, over the last couple of months, and when I left his office a couple of weeks ago, I left with a really good feeling that he's going to come and deliver some good news for the City of Ottawa," Watson said Thursday. "I don't want to scoop him, but we'll see him shortly."

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

City needs cash in hand

While city officials had been assured the provincial money was coming, they need the money in hand before signing the multi-billion-dollar contracts for Stage 2 LRT.

The province and the federal governments are each contributing $1.2 billion to the project, which should have equated to one-third of the total cost.

But last month, bother residents and councillors were stunned to learn the price tag had ballooned by more than $1 billion to $4.66 billion

Local taxpayers will have to pick up the additional cost through a number of measures, including increased transit levies and long-term debt.

Ford's announcement takes place at 11 a.m. at Belfast Yard.