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June 12, 2020 – Green Line Gamble Risks Taxpayers’ Cash

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.

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Click here for a comparison between the Davison amendment and the Administration recommendations

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May 29, 2020 – For Green Line It’s Time For 2 Steps Forward, Not 1 Backwards

With Monday’s Green Line Committee meeting approaching, the LRT on the Green Foundation is asking Councillors to look beyond the current debate swirling around Stage 1 and provide an answer to a question Calgarians have been asking for the last three years. Since May of 2017 when it was first announced that the Green Line would need to be delivered via a staged approach, a decision on the path the project will take once construction of Stage 1 begins has taken a back seat to the work being done to finalize the alignment through the centre city.

“For three years Calgarians living and working in communities outside of the Stage 1 boundaries have been waiting to learn the direction Green Line will take once construction between 16th Ave N and Shepard begins,” said Jeff Binks, president of LRT on the Green. “With Council now in a position to give the green light to a project that represents a $4.9 billion investment and create 20,000 jobs we hope they remember that this is just the end of the first chapter in the Green Line story and not the end of the story itself. Now is the time to provide clear direction on what comes next.”

As part of its written submission to the Green Line Committee, the LRT on the Green Foundation has asked that Council target a Green Line extension north to 96th Ave N and south to McKenzie Towne as the aspirational Stage 2 plan for the line. In addition the Foundation has asked that an updated cost estimate be provided for the proposed Stage 2 plan and that Council direct City of Calgary staff to create a package of early works projects based off the plan including, but not limited to, land acquisition as well as identifying opportunities for the creation of transitway segments and grade separation to further enhance the BRT along the Centre Street/Harvest Hills Boulevard corridor and report back by the end of this year. It’s hoped this timeline will help position the project for COVID stimulus funding that may become available.

“The Stage 1 plan that will be considered on Monday includes many positive additions over the plan that was put forward in 2017 such as the 9th Ave N station, the multi-use pathway crossing of the Bow River and BRT improvements along Centre Street. The creation of 20,000 desperately needed jobs is also an important bonus. Given all of this we feel Council should be able to look past the nay-sayers who want to delay the project and approve the Stage 1 plan while also setting the path towards building the next stage. When it comes to Green Line now is the time for Council to take two steps forward, not one backwards.” concluded Binks.

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