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Nenshi and Smith wage war of words over Green Line

Last Updated Oct 6, 2017 at 3:11 pm MDT

Map of the Green Line from City of Calgary

The political rhetoric over the proposed Green Line LRT has heated up Calgary’s mayoral race.

Incumbent Naheed Nenshi accused his chief rival Bill Smith of taking a reckless position on the massive transit project.

Smith has questioned the design and the cost of the project.

“He doesn’t like public transit and in fact is massively cutting public transit across the city,” Nenshi said. “This is shocking and it really is remarkably breathtakingly uninformed.”

Smith has called for the City to re-evaluate the $4.6-billion expansion, because funding covers only half of the original design.

“No, I do not want to cancel the Green Line,” Smith said. “I just want it to make sense for Calgarians. Considering federal money was promised for a line that was 46 kilometres long that was going to cost $4.5 billion (it’s) one of the most egregious errors in math that I’ve ever seen for an infrastructure project.”

The City opted for a more expensive design option that would take the line from 16th Avenue in the north to 126 Avenue S.E. The original design would have seen the north end of the line extend to Panorama Hills.

Nenshi said Smith’s proposal would threaten funding from other levels of government.

“(It’s) the single largest investment from provincial and federal governments in Calgary’s history … all of which is at risk,” Nenshi said.

“I didn’t think that was dangerous, I just thought it was common sense when I looked at the map,” Smith said. “To go from Shepard to 16 Avenue accomplishes neither goal, neither to get people from the north end to downtown or from the south end to downtown.”