The city's standing policy committee on transit has approved the draft of a 30-year transit plan for Calgary that is expected to cost $13 billion.
The RouteAhead report, which was released earlier in December, lays out the blueprint for Calgary Transit's future but doesn't offer a solution on how to pay for it over the next three decades.
With some additions, the plan will now be finalized and is expected to come back before city council in early 2013.
The report covers short-term improvements, such as bringing Wi-Fi service to C-Train stations and providing real time information on the internet for all buses.
It also includes long-term plans for dedicated busways, more bus rapid transit routes and a new LRT line from the far north end of Calgary to the new hospital located near the community of Cranston in the city's deep south.
Builds on West LRT, the city's first new line in 25 years
The plan builds on the recently-opened West LRT, which cost the city $1.4 billion and was one of the largest infrastructure endeavours ever undertaken by the city.
During the West LRT celebrations, Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver announced that Calgary will receive $133 million for the purchase of at least 50 new LRT cars and $8 million for the pre-design of the Southeast Transitway (SETWAY) project from the provincial GreenTRIP fund.
The committee heard Wednesday that the SETWAY project could start in 2017. The initial stage of the busway — which is expected to service the southeast communities of Ramsay, Riverbend and McKenzie Towne — would run from Fourth Street S.E. to the Douglas Glen Station.
SETWAY's goal is to make short-term improvements to public transit in southeast Calgary while still planning for an LRT line in the longer term.
Which LRT line is next?
There has also been some discussion about which LRT line should be built next.
But Ald. Shane Keating, who supports building a southeast rapid transit line, says that isn't the question for today.
He says the discussion is really about having a roadmap for transit's future, and not which quadrant needs LRT more.
"Do we plug the fact that they have greater ridership on the north-central as the only factor or do you make sure that there are many factors that determine where the next line should go?" he asked.
"So I think what this document does is it identifies the factors, identifies the projects and then it says we have to re-evaluate that criteria when we've got the cash and make sure that we're going the right direction, without question."