Calgary councillors plan on backing long-term funding plan for Green Line LRT
A notice of motion has been drafted and will be discussed at the next council meeting
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As many as 10 city councillors will endorse a Green Line funding strategy as part of a notice of motion coming to council next week.
Long talked about, the idea was originally brought forward by LRT On The Green (LRTOTG) foundation back in May. They proposed earmarking $52 million annually for 30 years from cash leftover from the education portion of property tax. Previously the plan was to do it for 10 years.
If extended for 30 years, the budgeting of tax dollars would earmark $1.5 billion to help Green Line construction at no extra cost to the taxpayer.
“There are projects that we would like to move forward on, and there are projects that we must move forward on. The Green Line LRT is an absolute must for Calgary. It's estimated that construction of the Green Line LRT will create 23,000 construction jobs." read a statement from Coun. Shane Keating in a release Wednesday.
"With construction of the Green Line beginning as early as 2017, The City of Calgary could provide significant economic stimulus in a time of employment uncertainty for many Calgarians. Today there are 297,000 jobs along the Green Line corridor. This number will grow to 414,000 in the next 30 years. We must prepare for the future.”
Keating isn't the only councillor speaking out about the funding plan, Couns. Gian-Carlo Carra, Sean Chu and Jim Stephenson all had faith in the funding model.
"The Green Line is a project that makes sense," said Chu in the statement.
"Calgarians consistently state two things. First, that they believe enhanced transit throughout our city is a top priority, and second, that the City should invest in projects that benefit the majority of Calgarians and not in small pet projects that benefit a small number of citizens."
In a recent survey completed by LRTOTG, Calgarians also seemed to agree with the funding model. Released on Monday, the survey that polled 6,000 Calgarians city-wide found that of those polled familiar with the foundation, 57 per cent were receptive to extending the $52 million investment for 30 years.
"Our hope with doing this survey was to prove to City Council that the public wants this project built, and they want to use a funding model that makes sense, and to use a funding structure which limits their personal tax burden," said Jeff Binks, LRTOTG president, in a release Monday.
This coming Friday, councillors on the Standing Policy Committee for Transportation will discuss funding and strategy.
Although this strategy will help the city advance their funding requirements, they still depend on $1.5 billion in federal funding pledged in July, along with more from the provincial government.
The estimated delivery cost of the new LRT line tops out at between $4 and $5 billion dollars.