Calgary

Green Line might have to be built in phases due to costs and lack of provincial funds

There's no guarantee the Alberta government will come through with its portion of funding for Calgary's proposed Green Line LRT, but even if it does, the project might have to be completed in phases to cover costs.

New LRT route would be the biggest infrastructure project in Calgary's history

The Green Line is expected to cost $5 billion once complete and might have to be built in phases. (City of Calgary/Screenshot)

There's no guarantee the Alberta government will come through with its portion of funding for Calgary's proposed Green Line LRT, but even if it does, the project might have to be completed in phases to cover costs. 

Calgary is pushing for the project to be funded one-third by the federal government, one-third by Alberta and one-third by the city. So far, the city and the federal government have each committed $1.5 billion toward the project. 

The Green Line, which would run over 40 kilometres from the north-central limits of Calgary all the way to its southeastern end, is expected to cost $5 billion when complete, making it the single most expensive infrastructure project in Calgary's history.

Concern over funding

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said city council spent much of the day behind closed doors on Monday looking at various options for completing the line.

"I am concerned that the project that we're looking at, particularly the tunnel through downtown and depending on what the agreement on the Beltline portion will be, that even if they do follow through on a one-third, one-third, one-third model, there just won't be enough money to build the whole thing, and that's what we really have to think about," he said. 

The final route for the entire line has yet to be determined, and the route through Calgary's dense Beltline community could have a big impact on the final price tag. 

'Looking at criteria'

Coun. Shane Keating, who championed the project, said the city has to be ready — no matter how much money is actually assembled — to start building the Green Line.

"We're sitting together and we're looking at criteria and then we're going to prioritize that criteria to say, 'This is the first thing that you have to have to be be able to make the Green Line work. This is the second and third and fourth, and then you're going down hopefully from that,'" he said.  

Keating said that will give city administration a clear view of what needs to happen and which portion of the project should take precedence. 

The Green Line route is expected to be finalized by June.

With files from Scott Dippel

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