Calgary, Alberta – March 2nd, 2021 –
The clock is ticking as the three month Green Line procurement pause that was announced last December enters its final two weeks. The pause was announced to accommodate a provincial review into the project and allow everyone involved time to try and resolve a list of concerns that was delivered to the City of Calgary in early December. The three month timeframe has been seen as the maximum window of time available before the start of construction would officially slip out of 2021.
“We are now getting extremely close to missing the start of Green Line construction in 2021. For the last few months work has been ongoing to resolve concerns. It’s time for all sides to show Calgarians that work,” said Jeff Binks, president of LRT on the Green. “By now it should be abundantly clear whose perspective on construction is out of step with the market consensus and what needs to be done to fix it. The reality is there will always be some level of uncertainty with a project of this size, that’s what the contingency budget is for. The only way to truly know if the cost projections are 100% accurate is to start building.”
The 2021 Green Line construction start countdown comes on the heels of last week’s provincial budget where accelerating infrastructure investment was mentioned as an important way to drive Alberta’s post-COVID economic recovery. It also comes shortly after the federal government announced a new permanent transit fund to begin in 2026. This new funding could have offered a way to complete Green Line from Keystone to Seton had the UCP government maintained the $400 million in annual transit funding to Calgary and Edmonton that was introduced by the previous NDP government and planned to begin in 2027.
“In last week’s budget the UCP laid out plans for using infrastructure investment to spark Alberta’s economy and yet the largest infrastructure project in Alberta’s history remains stalled out. Delays to construction start may not seem like a big deal when you’re sitting in an office debating numbers on a spread-sheet but to thousands of Calgarians a longer wait for a job building Green Line could be the difference between keeping their home and selling it. For many local companies a delay could be the difference between survival and collapse. Four years after the initial Council approval of Stage 1 we should be talking about how to fund the rest of Green Line, not how to start construction. The clock’s ticking to finally get shovels in the ground this year and the Province and the City are almost out of time.” concluded Binks.