Green Line LRT Will Pull Into Station Decades Sooner Than Thought
Calgary, Alberta – July 6, 2017
The City of Calgary’s vision of constructing the Green Line LRT, a 40 km light rail line that would span the city from north to south and connect almost 300,000 Calgarians, became a reality today with stage 1 reaching full funding thanks to an announcement made by Premier Notley.
LRT on the Green president, Jeff Binks, was invited to speak at today’s press conference. Below is a transcript of his comments.
“I would like to begin by thanking Premier Notley, Minister Mason and Mayor Nenshi for inviting me to participate today. Next Tuesday is my birthday and this funding announcement is the best birthday present I could hope for.
Over the last three years, the LRT on the Green Foundation has partnered with nearly twenty community groups that represent the hundreds of thousands of Calgarians who will directly benefit from the Green Line LRT. The message we heard from those groups, as well as Calgarians in general, was clear: the sooner construction can begin on the Green Line, the better. This funding announcement means that after years of planning, construction on stage 1 of the Green Line can commence. Today is genuinely a monumental day for Calgarians.
In my day job, I work as an airline pilot. It means that I’m regularly treated to a bird’s-eye view of our city. It also means that during rush hour I can see how traffic gridlocks on Deerfoot Trail from one end of the city to the other. I can’t help but think of how many minutes and hours tick by while my fellow Calgarians are stuck in that traffic and so I’m extremely happy that regardless of whether people drive or take transit, the Green Line will give Calgarians the best gift of all, time.
By reducing the traffic congestion on Deerfoot Trail and other major north-south routes, as well as reducing the travel time on transit to major employment hubs, the Green Line will allow Calgarians to spend their time in the way that benefits their lives most. Calgarians have built our city into an amazing place to call home and I can only imagine what can be accomplished with more free time in our lives. It also helps that the reduced congestion means the air we breathe will be a little cleaner while we pursue our ambitions.
That sense of community and collaboration that has made Calgary what it is has been evident throughout the Green Line process. Personally I’d like to thank the Foundation’s past and present board members who have put in countless volunteer hours advocating for this project. But I think it’s also important to note that before the first train has left the station, the public engagement for the Green Line connected Calgarians and community groups from across this city who came together to help create a project vision that will positively transform our city for the next 100 years.
The same is true for the three orders of government. At the provincial, municipal and federal levels, people have recognized the importance the Green Line has for Calgarians and have worked hard to turn this project into a reality. On behalf of Calgarians, I’d like to take a moment to show some appreciation to some of the key players with the Alberta Government and the City of Calgary who have helped to get us to this point.
Councillor Shane Keating deserves thanks for the role he played in getting the ball rolling but today I’d like to thank Mayor Nenshi and his team for the leadership they’ve shown in getting stage 1 of the Green Line across the finish line. I’d also like to thank Premier Notley and Minister Mason, who understood early on why the Green Line’s ability to reduce congestion and orient development towards transit as our city continues to grow matters so much to Calgarians. They recognized that this project will positively shape our city and create jobs for tens of thousands of people.
Finally, I’d like to thank MLAs Karen McPherson, Jamie Kleinsteuber and Craig Coolahan who contacted us soon after taking office to learn about the project and have been working tirelessly on behalf of Calgarians ever since to help make the Green Line a reality. Although stage 1 may not quite reach their ridings, completing the core of the Green Line thanks, in part, to today’s funding announcement will make future expansions possible. With their continuing advocacy I have no doubt that those expansions will happen sooner, rather than later.
Today is a great day for Calgary. Stage 1 of the Green Line represents the largest investment in public transit in Alberta’s history. Thanks to the cooperation and leadership shown by all three orders of government it’s happening a decade sooner than almost anyone thought possible. The Green Line will transform how Calgarians live, work and play in our city over the next 100 years and today’s announcement means it’s finally time to get construction started.
About LRT on the Green:
Formed in 2014, LRT on the Green is a not-for-profit organization with the mission to unite Calgarians in the desire to have LRT operating on the Green Line in both the North Central and South East corridors by the year 2021. Our members represent various business, developer and community stakeholders who have an interest in seeing LRT on the Green Line sooner, rather than later. They provide us with ideas and feedback to help us shape the direction of the Foundation and our advocacy efforts.
Jeff Binks – President