Council approves $370 million for line extension
City council moved forward with ambitious plans to expand the LRT system by approving $370 million in spending at a special meeting yesterday.
With a 10-year funding agreement in place with the province, aldermen moved forward with northeast and northwest light-rail transit extensions, and pushed ahead with a plan to build the west leg of the C-Train system.
Part of the expenditure includes the acquisition of 34 new rail cars to bolster the existing fleet.
“I think overall this is a very good day for transportation in Calgary. It says that the LRT is important and will remain the backbone of our primary transportation network,” said Mayor Dave Bronconnier, adding that the west leg has been on the books for 20 years.
Though Bronconnier’s motion passed with little amendment, it did come with some opposition — both on the timing of the decision-making and with the need for extension into the northwest corridor.
Ald. Druh Farrell was also concerned with the enormous emphasis placed on using municipal infrastructure money for transportation.
“We made generally good decisions, but my major concern is that we continue to be so focused on transportation at the expense of all other things,” said Farrell, noting the need for more cultural facilities and improvements to open spaces in the city’s core.
It’s expected the meeting will address major west leg LRT alignment decisions, along with potential land uses along the west sector.
Council also approved $301.5 million in capital spending for six new infrastructure projects.
Many of the projects included in the plan were announced during Bronconnier’s mayoral campaign, including funding for three new regional recreation centres — one each in the northeast, southeast and northwest.