si-cgy-westlrt

Construction of the West LRT line is over budget and behind schedule, which will cost the city more than $35 million. Mayor Naheed Nenshi says some money for the project could come from the public art fund. (City of Calgary)

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the city is looking for ways to pay for the cost overruns for the West LRT.

The new line will not open in December 2012, the city confirmed Thursday. The project is now set to open March 2013.

Nenshi said Saturday it was possible that the West LRT could be finished on time, but that would cost more than the $35 million that the project is already over budget.

The cost overruns will be shared between the city and contractor, said Nenshi.

For the city's part, there will be some rejigging within the roads department's funds, but Nenshi said there is also some wiggle room with the public art policy.

"Could the public art department, quote unquote, loan the transportation department the money to be paid back over time? That might be one solution," he said.

The city's policy currently dedicates one per cent of the total costs of capital projects to public art — in this case, that's about $9 million.