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Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney attends a press conference at the GO Transit Willowbrook Rail Maintenance Facility in Toronto on Nov. 4, 2019. Ms. Mulroney said the issues plaguing stage 1 of Ottawa’s light-rail transit (LRT) project 'have been unacceptable and disappointing.'Tijana Martin/The Globe and Mail

Ontario will launch a public inquiry into Ottawa’s beleaguered light-rail transit system, which has been beset by reliability issues and shutdowns, the province announced Wednesday.

Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney said the issues plaguing stage 1 of Ottawa’s light-rail transit (LRT) project “have been unacceptable and disappointing.”

“As a funding partner for the project, we need certainty that the City of Ottawa will be able to successfully deliver the remaining phases of work for this project. Ottawa transit riders deserve and expect this certainty as well,” Ms. Mulroney said in a statement.

“To get to the bottom of these issues facing the Ottawa LRT, our government will be launching a public inquiry. Our goal is to get this up and running as soon as possible. In the coming weeks, we will establish the scope of the inquiry and its terms of reference, with the intention of receiving a report on what has transpired and recommendations to prevent this from happening again.”

Ottawa’s LRT line first launched in 2019, but has experienced problems ever since. The line recently returned to service after being shut down for almost two months because of a train derailment, according to CBC Ottawa.

Ottawa city council, including Mayor Jim Watson, recently shut down a motion to launch a judicial inquiry into the network, but approved one for an investigation by the city’s auditor general.

A spokesman for Mr. Watson said on Wednesday the Mayor had not yet heard from the Ontario government on the matter. But later, the Mayor released a statement saying he supports the province’s expedited process, which he characterized as an investigation into train-maker Alstom and the Rideau Transit Group (RTG).

“Both Premier Ford and I share the goal of better public transit for the residents of Ottawa. As I have said over the last year, my number one goal is to get RTG and Alstom to fix LRT and start delivering the world class transit service Ottawa paid for and transit passengers deserve,” Mr. Watson said.

“I support the province’s decision to get to the bottom of why RTG and Alstom have failed to deliver on their obligations to our city, and I support the shorter process proposed by the province. I will look forward to responding more fully when we are informed of the scope of the province’s effort.”

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