Expansion plans for the Calgary International Airport will fly despite continued calls to build a commuter tunnel beneath a future runway, stakeholders were told yesterday.

Garth Atkinson, president and CEO of the Calgary Airport Authority, told those who attended the airport’s annual general meeting that it’s still full steam ahead on a $3-billion, 10-year expansion that will include a new runway, taxiways and a new terminal.

And despite northeast Ald. Jim Stevenson’s push to extend Airport Trail by tunnelling beneath the proposed four-kilometre run­way to ensure communities aren’t cut off by the planned closure of Barlow Trail, Atkinson said the expansion won’t be delayed.

“The time for this has come and gone — we’re spending money so any change now would set us back and cost us money,” he said.

“I’m not personally aware of any interest in committing public funds to this project.”

Atkinson said the major parts of the expansion, the new runway and international terminal, are set to begin construction in 2011 with completion expected in 2014.

Stevenson said he hasn’t given on up on hope for getting the access built and is optimistic that the provincial and federal governments will chip in when the true cost to provide a temporary solution is sussed out.

“I’ve never been as optimistic as I am right now,” he said noting a report on the full cost of a temporary extension of Airport Trail will come to a city committee in June.

“The plan we have right now, to build three bridges at the runway and taxiways will only cost in the neighbourhood of $100 million to $150 million and we can do that.”

Stevenson said he’s hoping to get answers about matching the city’s already committed $50 million from the other orders of government by the fall.

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