The City of Calgary released an updated report on the expected costs of the southwest transitway project, and it shows the numbers are much higher than expected.
In 2010, when the project was first announced, the total cost was expected to be in the range of $40 million. Now, six years later, it could cost as much as $65 million when it’s all said and done.
According to a release from Mayor Naheed Nenshi and councillors Brian Pincott and Diane Colley-Urquhart, this raises some serious concerns about how the city plans for infrastructure projects.
Colley-Urquhart, councillor for Ward 13, told 660 NEWS, this sets a new standard for how the city operates.
“We can’t have scope creep. We can’t have these projected estimates and costs that well exceed contingency percentages that were put into place,” she said. “Council really needs to re-look at the whole way that we approve these things, and how administration are bringing these things forward.”
She adds, she has a lot of questions that still need to be answered before she approves the transitway at the current costs, which have jumped nearly 60 per cent.
Ward 11 councillor Pincott says one of the reasons the costs are so high is because of public input over the past six years.
“Since then, through all of the public engagement that has been done, and finding out what was important to Calgarians … there were things like increased station design that has gone into it, but just to understand all of that. What is actually truly behind the difference,” he said.
On the low end of the scale, the project could cost around $56 million.
“The program itself is completely on budget, and that’s the important piece. So we don’t have to go and find extra money. Five years ago, the budget number, the cost assessment that was put on it was for a relatively bare bones BRT system.”
An outspoken citizens group, Ready to Engage, has been quite vocal on the cost of this project, demanding the city release updated numbers.
The project is proposed to run along 14th St. S.W. and connect a reported under-served portion of Calgarians.