Federal parties promise Edmonton LRT funding
Campaign talk about federal funding for transit has Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson excited for the potential of an expedited 'LRT build out strategy.'
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Mayor Don Iveson has high hopes for building more LRT sooner thanks to “large ongoing commitment from all three federal parties to transit funding.”
During their respective campaigns, the three major parties in the federal election have promised increases in transit investment for cities.
The Conservative promise is for a new public transit fund that would see Ottawa spend $250 million in 2017, $500 million in 2018 and $1 billion yearly after 2019. The NDP plan is to invest $1.3 billion annually over the next 20 years into public transit. Similarly, the Liberal party pledges $20 billion for transit over the next 10 years.
“It allows us to actually have some certainty and make some long-term decisions,” Iveson said.
The federal interest in funding transit projects means a future LRT “build out strategy” is feasible, and could mean building more LRT infrastructure simultaneously, he explained.
The only hurdle would be whether or not the province participates in the funding.
“I think we are going to see (the province) find a way to do that over time,” Iveson said, adding that it would create jobs, reduce congestion, improve environmental performance in the long term—all goals the city shares with the province.
He said eventually, with federal and provincial partners on board, Edmonton can “begin to imagine how that $3-5 billion dollar kind of bundle LRT construction could work.”