On Monday Calgary City Council will be considering a variety of amendments to the Green Line Stage 1 recommendations brought forward by Administration. After reviewing the submissions made by several members of Council following the June 1st Green Line Committee meeting, the LRT on the Green Foundation is raising a red flag that one particular amendment, if adopted, will unnecessarily jeopardize precious project budget dollars.
“At the Green Line Committee meeting we learned external consultants concluded that crossing the Bow River to 16th Avenue as part of Stage 1 represents that absolute best bang for the buck for the City of Calgary,” said Jeff Binks, president of LRT on the Green. “We also learned that by making every dollar in the budget count many needed BRT improvements further north along Centre Street can be built. If Council adopts the Davison amendment to delay a decision on the Bow River crossing for a year, they’ll be risking these dollars on a roll of the dice.”
The amendment, spearheaded by Councillor Jeff Davison and signed by several other councillors, calls for Segment 2 of the Green Line Stage 1 plan to be split in half. Instead of allowing construction to move forward on all of Segment 2 once detailed design work is complete as per the current Administration recommendations, it only permits construction to start on Green Line between Eau Claire and Shepard and delays a decision on the Bow River crossing and Crescent Heights portion until next year.
At committee it was revealed that every year of delay can cost the project budget up to $100 million which is equal to the amount budgeted for BRT improvements and that the design of the downtown portion of the alignment relies heavily on whether or not the Green Line will cross the Bow River. A decision next spring to modify or cancel the Bow River crossing, as made possible by the amendment, would require a major redesign of the downtown portion that will already be well along in the detailed design and construction tender process by that point.
“Now is the time for Council to decide whether or not Stage 1 of Green Line will cross the Bow River. Delaying this decision risks the same amount of money needed for North BRT improvements and gambles the millions of taxpayers’ dollars that are about to be spent on the design and construction tender process of the downtown portion on the hopes that the exact same plan being considered on Monday will be adopted next year. We are asking that Council avoid needless delay, approve the Bow River crossing and ensure each and every taxpayer dollar spent on Green Line in the years to come isn’t a dollar wasted” concluded Binks.