CALGARY – Alberta’s NDP government released its 2015-16 budget Tuesday, and a Calgary group is hoping the city’s LRT development will receive some unallocated money.
“From this budget, we now know that $4.4 billion of capital funding is up for grabs,” said non-profit LRT on the Green president Jeff Binks in a statement. “For the Green Line LRT to get built, the city will have to convince the provincial government that this is a priority project that is ready to go and is worthy of funding.”
The Green Line LRT has received funding for one-third of its total construction cost from the incoming federal government, with city council looking at ways to contribute “their equal share,” said a statement from Binks.
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In a Tuesday statement, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he was pleased with the $4.4 infrastructure money presented in the budget.
“In November, city council will consider capital budget revisions to advance shovel-ready projects that can access this funding,” he said. “While the Green Line LRT project is not specifically mentioned in this budget, there is nothing in this budget that precludes it, and we will continue discussions with the province about how they will participate in the project.”
In an interview last Wednesday, Nenshi said now is the right time for the city to focus on infrastructure, citing low interest rates.
“Construction costs are really going down and a lot of folks who work in construction are out of work,” he said. “So this is exactly the time for us to invest in building stuff that we need—stuff that we’re going to build anyway—this is the right time to do it.”
Construction on the Green Line LRT is estimated to begin in 2017.