The Ontario Government in Canada has approved $561m in funding for the city of Ottawa’s proposed light rail transit project.

The fund is for the project’s $1.96bn first phase, which involves building a 12km light rail from Tunney’s Pasture to Blair Road including a 3.2km downtown tunnel.

The project is considered the city’s largest ever in transit infrastructure and is part of the government’s plan to increase its public transit use to 30% by 2031.

The remainder of the funding is expected to come from the federal government as well as the city government.

Work is expected to begin in 2012.