Calgary City council has agreed to proceed with the first stage of the Green Line LRT, a 20-kilometre route that will cost $4.6 billion.
The line will extend from Crescent Heights to Shepard and was passed by a vote 12-3 earlier this week in favour of proceeding with Stage 1 from 16th Avenue North to 126 Avenue SE.
The City of Calgary initially outlined the project as a 40-km-long route running north to south at a cost of $4.5 billion, but a recent City staff report recommended City council to proceed with a 20-km-long route running from the northeast to the mid-south at a cost of $4.6 billion.
Instead of building it all at once, the new transit route will be built incrementally in phases. The first phase will cost roughly $225 million per kilometre of track and will include 14 stations between 16 Avenue N and Shepard, with trains running every 10 minutes. The end-to-end travel time within this first phase route is 34 minutes.
Green line advocate, Councillor Shane Keating said in a state on his Facebook page that he’s frustrated that the costs have escalated so much on this project, but that he’s pleased Council decided to continue moving forward with the Green Line.
“While I’m concerned that the cost of the project has risen, I’m still sold that it is the right investment for Calgary. The new price tag is frustrating – there’s no doubt about that – but the longer we wait the higher the cost is going to rise. The consequences of waiting longer for Green Line could have a dramatically negative impact. We had to identify what we could build for the money we have. And this is the point I cannot stress enough – this project has to start somewhere and it has to start soon.”
One of the major factors for the increased cost in building the project revolves around the higher-than-expected cost for acquiring the land required for the ground-level sections of the track and stations.
Keating says starting on stage 1 now offers an assurance that we will have LRT running into southeast Calgary by 2026.