News / Calgary

Calgary councillors taking $25,000 trip with city transportation experts

The trip will look at municipalities with newly completed LRT projects to help form a list of best practices

Transit officials, staff and councillors will be embarking on a trip to help them make informed decisions on the Greenline project.

Metro file photo

Transit officials, staff and councillors will be embarking on a trip to help them make informed decisions on the Greenline project.

All aboard the LRT express!

On a fact-finding mission that will run the city and councillors' offices around $25,000, Couns. Shane Keating, Druh Farrell, Jim Stevenson and the four directors of transportation will set out on a three-day trip to Vancouver, Seattle and Portland to meet with transit officials and dish the dirt on their prospective projects.

"Everyone we're going to talk to has recently completed a major LRT installation or is about to complete a major LRT installation," said Sean Somers, spokesperson with the City of Calgary transportation department.

For the city, normally consultants run around $100,000, only adding one perspective.
"We have engineers, we have politicians, we have directors...so really we're getting a ton of experience, a ton of knowledge," said Somers. "Transportation is paying for our own stuff, and council is paying for their stuff."

With an estimated price tag as high as $5 billion for the Green Line project, Keating said it's important to get these things right, and meeting with these neighbouring industry experts will help both the city and council make connections.

He added to see other transit systems in use and review the options in person would be much more valuable than reading a report from council.

Coun. Sean Chu, who's ward is included in the Green Line project, was considering going, but decided against it when he saw the price tag.

Somers said the cities were chosen for their similar project elements corresponding to the Green Line and because they have similar geography and climate to Calgary.

Somers added this is an industry standard and not unlike trips the team have taken in the past, but wasn't sure if councillors normally come along for the ride.

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