News / Calgary

Lack of commitment from NDP may force Green Line to be built in phases

City has set a deadline of Oct. 2016 for a commitment from the province

Courtesy/ City of Calgary

City of Calgary administration is asking government officials to show them the money.

The government is the Green Line's biggest road block so far. During a committee presentation Wednesday, repeated references to funding uncertainty showed a worrying pattern. If the city don't see some action by Oct. 2016, city officials will have to walk back on construction targets and opt for a phased approach to construction.

So far, the $4.5 billion project is being funded one third by the City of Calgary, with a nod from the federal government, who have committed funding as well. To tally it up, the city has put in 1.56 billion, the federal government has committed $1.53 billion.

As for the province – queue the tumbleweeds.

"Within six months, the province has to come out and say yes or no," said Coun. Shane Keating.

The city has already approved a report outlining which parts of the Green Line will be started first. Keating said a maintenance facility, which is set to be located in the south, and the downtown core should be in the first phase of construction.

Administration suggested these uncertain funding conundrums will possibly push the city's ideal start-date for construction. But Keating suggested these types of hiccups are already built into plans.

"By the time we're ready to actually send out the tenders, I think all concerns will be by the wayside," he said.

It doesn't look like a firm funding commitment will come with the budget, but Keating said he's not concerned.

City council has officially requested guidance from the province on how to execute their third of the funding. Mayor Naheed Nenshi wrote the transportation minister a letter.

On Feb. 25 the Minister of Transportation, Brian Mason, made a visit to Calgary and announced the last wad of Green Trip funding. With him and Nenshi in the same room, Mason gave the mayor a preview of the government's response.

"We're very interested in supporting you, we have difficult financial circumstances. We want to work with you to find a way to get this done," Mason said in February.

When pushed on whether that meant there's cash in the cards for Calgary's Green Line the minister said he wasn't prepared to comment.

The staging discussion may become more serious in May according to the committee.

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