Edmonton's LRT expansion to NAIT is getting $497 million from the province's GreenTRIP program.

The funding represents about two-thirds of the eligible cost of the project, which is estimated at $745 million.

According to a news release from the province, the city will get $70 million in the 2010-11 budget year to pay for expenses that have already been incurred. The remaining money will be allocated as construction progresses.

Mayor Stephen Mandel called the funding announcement "tremendous".

"Having this announcement secures the future of this line ... [the province] always said they would but didn't have anything formal so I'm elated that the minister and the premier have stood behind their commitment," he said.

The LRT expansion is the first capital project to receive GreenTRIP funding. 

Work is already underway on the expansion which will take the LRT from Churchill Station to NAIT, with stops at Grant MacEwan University and Kingsway Mall.

The $2 billion GreenTRIP fund provides municipalities with funding for public transit projects.