Calgary will now ask the province for funding after city council approved the first stage of the Green Line LRT at Monday's meeting.

After a lengthy debate, council voted 12-3 in favour of building the next LRT line from 16th Avenue N. to Shepard Station at 126 Ave. S.E.

The line will go underground through the downtown core.  

The project will cost $4.6 billion.

The city has committed $1.56 billion over the next 30 years toward the project while the federal government has committed $1.5 billion.

The province had previously said it wouldn't decide on funding the project until Calgary could provide details on what exactly it wants to build.

"They wanted us to complete our work and show them exactly what they were getting for what amount of money and then ask them for the money, and we're going to do that right away," said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. "I'll write a letter on that [Tuesday] probably."

A longtime advocate for the Green Line, Coun. Shane Keating says some people might not be happy the first stage of the line won't reach more populated areas in the north and south ends of the city.

But for him, this is still the best outcome.

"We started building for the future of Calgary," he said. "We've built in a lot of options, which cost a lot of money, but they're just like the airport tunnel. If we didn't do them now, it would vastly be more expensive in the future and more inconvenient at the time."

Green Line LRT phase 1

A map of the first phase of the Green Line LRT. (City of Calgary)

But others on council, like Coun. Joe Magliocca, aren't happy the line won't reach areas where thousands of people live.

He said council recently voted to rezone a golf course based on the LRT being built next door, and now it won't be there for more than a decade.

"It makes my blood boil. I just, I just, I don't get it your worship," said Magliocca during Monday's meeting. "We make decisions on things like that and now you know, we're not doing it."

The city wants to start construction in 2020 and this shorter version of the Green Line could open in 2026.

The original Green Line plan was to see it run from Stoney Trail in the north past the South Health Campus in the deep southeast.

With files from Scott Dippel