Ottawa lifts ceiling on funds for Lac-Megantic decontamination and rebuilding

QUEBEC – Ottawa has agreed to lift the ceiling on the amount of money it will allocate to the decontamination and rebuilding of Lac-Megantic, the Quebec government announced Tuesday.

The agreement provides for Ottawa to assume 50 per cent of admissible expenses, with Quebec paying for the other half.

The total costs incurred in last summer’s train derailment, which killed 47 people, have yet to be determined but Quebec’s Public Security Department said it could top $400 million.

Quebec said the deal stipulates Ottawa will give Quebec $25 million within 30 days of it being signed. The agreement is in the process of being ratified.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed up to $95 million in federal funds last November to help clean up the contamination.

When the train derailed, the crude oil it was carrying exploded, devastating much of Lac-Megantic’s downtown.

A federal government spokesman said the sum of $400 million put forth by Quebec still has not been detailed.

“Quebec won’t get any reimbursement if they can’t give us detailed expenses,” said the spokesman who did not want to be identified.

He said Quebec will have to supply the necessary information by 2018.

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