CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he’s “very irritated” about a delay to the Green Line LRT project.
The next steps of the Green Line LRT project have been put on hold because of conversations with the provincial government regarding concerns about the project itself.
A letter sent to stakeholders said the city does not believe it is responsible to continue with the current procurements while discussions with the province are evolving.
Ward 12 Councillor Shane Keating says this likely means the project will be delayed.
“It’s ludicrous and I don’t mind saying that. Everyone should phone up the provincial government and say Merry Christmas and thanks to the great gift they just received because it’s solely on their shoulders.”
“In June, six months ago, city council voted 14 to one to go ahead with segment one of the Green Line and managed to re-assess segment two and not go ahead with segment three until one and two are almost finished to make sure there is enough funds. So that was six months ago,” added Keating.
Keating says the Green Line team and the city have done all that they can to meet all the concerns raised by the province.
The Alberta government ordered a review of the project in June to make sure it was getting the best bang for its buck, as it is investing $1.5 billion
But Nenshi said after a letter was sent to him by Transportation Minister Ric McIver in October, highlighting a few vague issues, there’s been no more developments.
“The Government of Alberta continues to drag its feet and as I’ve been warning for many weeks, this is going to lead to delays in the project. We have no idea what it is they actually want. This is 12,000 jobs at a time when they are desperately needed.”
A spokesperson from the Transportation Minister said in a statement to 660 NEWS they remain committed to the $1.53 billion they pledged.
“In the letter from Minister McIver to Mayor Nenshi in October, the Minister asked that Calgary and Alberta take the required time to deliver the right outcome for Alberta taxpayers. Per the letter, we are working with the City to address the concerns outlined in the Review. Alberta’s government remains committed to the $1.53 billion it has pledged for the Green Line. However, we would not characterize due diligence on a spending commitment of $1.53 billion as a delay and we will not be held to an arbitrary timeline at the expense of a functional transit project nor hardworking Alberta taxpayers.”
Nenshi added they could still start construction next year, but it would be a much tighter timeline.
He said reviewing complicated portions of the green line, such as the downtown route, is reasonable but the far south leg is fairly simplistic.