Over four and a half years after it was first announced the Green Line LRT would need to be built in stages, the LRT on the Green Foundation is calling on the City of Calgary to finally release a price tag for the entire project. The need to know the total cost of construction to build Green Line from Keystone (160th Ave N) to Seton has become more pressing with the passage this week of Bill 73 in the Alberta Legislature. Bill 73, the Infrastructure Accountability Act, requires the creation of a 20-year strategic capital plan for the Alberta Government within the next year.
“There is absolutely no good reason why the completion of the Green Line LRT from Keystone to Seton shouldn’t top the Alberta Government’s 20 year strategic capital plan,” said Jeff Binks, president of LRT on the Green. “The goal for Green Line has always been to start building and then keep building until the line is complete however the price tag for construction beyond Stage 1 is still a mystery. Until that number is shared with Calgarians, as well as prospective funding partners, the odds are slim we will see further financial commitments to the project.”
One of the criteria listed in Bill 73 for submitting capital planning submissions is that the full life-cycle cost of a project must be provided. Submissions are to be prepared by the Minister responsible for a specific portfolio. The passage of Bill 73 at the provincial level follows the creation of a permanent annual public transit fund by the federal government that is set to begin in the year 2026. Combined, the two programs will offer a make a substantial amount of funding available for projects like the Green Line.
“It’s been over four years since Calgarians first learned the original $4.9 billion budget wasn’t adequate and that Green Line would have to be built in stages. We are asking City Council to help us push for a final figure on the cost to complete construction. Without a total price tag it is doubtful Green Line will appear on the 20 year strategic capital plan and Calgarians can’t afford to have that train leave the station without the city’s top infrastructure priority onboard. We have one year and the clock is now ticking.” concluded Binks.