Calgary businessmen urge city to put the brakes on Green Line LRT
Published Wednesday, June 26, 2019 3:16PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 26, 2019 6:53PM MDT
Several prominent Calgary businessmen want city council to put the brakes on the Green Line project for at least a year because of a number of concerns.
The group, fronted by businessman Jim Gray, spoke to the transportation committee at city hall on Wednesday, urging the city to “formally suspend” the project and halt spending because of issues with planning and the budget for the project.
“We’re not opposed to the Green Line at all, but we can’t afford to not to get it right,” said Gray. “We’re talking about taking a little pause, just to get it right to be comfortable with the risks in terms of the tunnel and the downtown alignment.”
The first stage of the Green Line will stretch from 126 Avenue S.E. to 16 Avenue N., and currently includes plan for a tunnel in the downtown and the Bow River. During Wednesday’s update, administrators advised the committee the completion of the first stage has been pushed back to 2027.
Staff also updated the cost of the project to $4.903 billion, which includes preparatory work for the line. The group presenting to the committee, which also included Steve Allan, Barry Lester and Brian Felesky, warned the project could go over budget by as much as $2 billion.
“That would be an economic catastrophe,” Felesky said in council chambers. “So, we must take a pause. We must manage that exposure by deliberating on more effective and efficient alternatives.”
Transportation committee chair Shane Keating doesn’t agree with the group’s budget projection and thinks the number is based off of old Green Line cost projections.
“Pausing the Green Line, in my view, is absolutely the wrong direction to go,” Keating said. “But taking sections of the Green Line that give us difficulty and saying ‘What can we do differently?’ Is absolutely the right way to go.”