CALGARY (660 NEWS) – A hearty debate continues on the Green Line LRT project as council is set to discuss the new alignment for stage one.
The first stage of the line is proposed to go from south Calgary to the downtown core and across the Bow River to 16 Ave.
However, some city councillors want the project scaled back.
Jeff Davison and three of his colleagues said rising costs mean they can’t afford to go across the river and instead the money should be spent on expanding BRT service in the north.
Davison is pushing for a shortened line and said his big sticking point is the cost and the inclusion of millions of dollars of debt.
“This is the fourth consecutive increase we’ve seen without any tracks being laid on the ground. Moving from a $4.9 billion budget that the public was aware of to now a $5.5 billion budget.”
WATCH: Keeping the Green Line LRT on track
However, Jeff Binks, president of LRT On The Green, said Davison knew about the budget increase a long time ago.
“It was councillor Davison himself that participated in the vote to make that a reality and councillors Colley-Urquhart and Sutherland who also signed on to councillor Davison’s idea.”
Binks said the Green Line needs to go across the river so it can eventually be built to the north.
He added it’s the delays that will cost the city real money and people need to stop acting like armchair accountants.
“I can understand why Calgarians, not knowing much about the project, say maybe there’s a better way. I think that if Calgarians took the two days to listen to all information that all the city councillors receive, they would change their mind.”
Meanwhile, Davison said he’s not trying to kill the Green Line and believes a shortened track doesn’t put anything at risk.
“If we get over the river in the wrong fashion, will we ever have the money to build stations to where our ridership numbers exist? We have limited funding at this time and we need to think about what the future holds for Calgary in terms of funding. I would rather get one line right.”
The first stage of the Green Line to 16 Ave. is expected to be finished by 2026 with construction slated to begin next year.
Council will meet to discuss the Green Line Tuesday starting at 3:45 p.m.