Problem-plagued Ottawa LRT’s CEO to leave the organization in July

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Rideau Transit Group (RTG) chief executive officer Peter Lauch will leave the organization in July, as it continues to struggle to resolve reliability issues affecting Ottawa’s $2.1 billion Light Rail Transit (LRT) system.

In a statement on RTG’s website, the organization said its “mission is to deliver world-class transit service for the City of Ottawa. Our team has been structured for that purpose and it is that goal that continues to drive us forward.”

The company built the 12.5-km LRT and is responsible for operating and maintaining the crosstown rail service which opened last fall, but it has been plagued by delays and failures with many service disruptions. Accordingly, the City of Ottawa has declined to pay its regular maintenance payments and the company is operating under a notice of contract default. The line was closed last week as RTG continues to make modifications during the low-traffic period caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to hopefully overcome the unreliability issues.

“RTG’s CEO, Peter Lauch accepted the leadership of RTG in 2018, following five years as part of the RTG senior project management team constructing Ottawa’s light rail transit system,” the company statement said. “In November of 2019 he accepted the additional role as CEO of Rideau Transit Maintenance (RTG’s maintenance partner).”

“It is with sincere gratitude to Peter that we announced today his plans to step down as CEO, effective 10 July 2020. Peter’s tireless dedication to the project and his forthright transparency with all stakeholders have been hallmarks of his tenure. It is with this sense of appreciation that the board of RTG and its principal partners, ACS Infrastructure, Ellis-Don and SNC-Lavalin have reluctantly accepted Mr. Lauch’s decision.”

RTG says the City of Ottawa and OC Transpo have been advised of this management decision, and a transition plan will be announced in the coming days.

“When I accepted the challenge to head up RTG, my primary objective was to oversee the transition into revenue service,” Lauch said in the statement. “The RTM role was taken to quarterback the restructuring of Rideau Transit Maintenance. It was always my intention to stay on for the time necessary to complete those undertakings.”

RTG says Lauch remains fully engaged in day to day operations and supporting the transition plans until his departure.

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