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Calgary officials looking at how to cash in on outsiders use of city services

Green Line talks spark ideas on what can be done to stop subsidizing Calgary's surrounding area

City of Calgary could be host to more transit users from Okotoks or Airdrie with Green Line infrastructure.

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City of Calgary could be host to more transit users from Okotoks or Airdrie with Green Line infrastructure.

Green Line talks have spurred a city conversation on how to better cash in on outsiders who use city services – they're looking at you Okotoks and Airdrie.

On Wednesday, city councillors toyed with the idea of having a mechanism in place to charge those who may use the Green Line from outside city limits. The idea being with key connections between Airdrie and Okotoks transit systems, there may be more commuters who don't help subsidize hitching rides.

"One of our challenges when we start looking at the city providing transit to people who live outside of the city is that essentially our tax-base is subsidizing someone else," said Coun. Brian Pincott during the transportation meeting. "We are the only province where the government doesn't participate in supporting the operation of transit."

According to transportation boss Mac Logan, there are talks underway.

"That's part of the city charters conversation about the regional nature and the regional benefit and the need for the province to help us with the operating piece," said Logan.

Coun. Shane Keating said municipalities in the states have more power to tax those outside the city. But he's not sure that's the route Calgary needs to take.

"A better way is the region has to coordinate," Keating said. "I think there's better ways to do it then to legislate municipalities the ability to charge other outside individuals…But there has to be some way, more of a global contribution to these expenses rather than just the city of Calgary bearing all the expenses."

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