The Confederation Line – A Brief History


The genesis of the Confederation Line was the November 2008 Transportation Master Plan (TMP) update, in which the Council of the day identified the bottleneck of transit service in the downtown core as the City’s most pressing transit challenge. Council directed staff to pursue a rail plan that would provide a long term solution to the downtown bottleneck and set the foundation for development of a world-class transit network that would meet the City’s needs for generations to come.

The TMP launched the planning phase of the project. Extensive public consultations were undertaken, rail technologies examined, different track alignments evaluated and financial models reviewed to determine affordability. All of this work culminated in December 2009 with the Downtown Ottawa Transit Tunnel (DOTT) Planning and Environmental Assessment Study - Recommended Plan, which established the functional design of the project. Approved by the City’s Transit Committee in December 2009 and by City Council in January 2010, the functional design demonstrated the feasibility of a 12.5 kilometre, 13 station Light Rail Transit (LRT) alignment between Blair station in the east and Tunney’s Pasture station in the West with a $2.1 billion project cost estimate.

With Council approval of the plan secured, work now began to receive Federal and Provincial Environmental Assessment approvals and funding agreements for the project. In addition, the project entered a design phase known as Preliminary Engineering, in which the City contracted a local joint venture (Capital Transit Partners) to advance the design of the project in order to prepare for the procurement phase.

In August 2010, the City received the project’s Provincial Environmental Assessment approval, followed by contribution agreements for $600 million each from the Federal and Provincial governments.

In July 2011, the City presented Council with the Implementation of the Ottawa Light Rail Transit Project report. Council approval of this report commenced the procurement phase of the project.

A Request-for-Qualifications was undertaken between July and October 2011 and shortlisted three world-class consortia to compete in the Request-for-Proposal (RFP) stage of procurement. The RFP was undertaken from October 2011 to October 2012 and, following the evaluation period, the Rideau Transit Group was presented to Council in December 2012 as the preferred consortia to Design, Build, Finance and Maintain the Confederation Line project. During this time (July 2012) the City also received approval of the Federal Environmental Assessment.

On December 19, 2012 Council voted unanimously to move forward with the Rideau Transit Group’s proposal and authorized staff to finalize the project contract. This was signed on February 14, 2013 and the Confederation Line has now entered the construction phase.

- Rail Implementation Office