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'Not giving any additional dollars': Province critical of climbing cost of Calgary's Green Line


A letter from Alberta's transportation minister to Calgary's mayor makes it clear the province won't provide additional dollars to the Green Line LRT project, but it also says the city has to integrate the new CTrain line into the province's master rail plan.

The letter to the city comes ahead of a June update on the $5.5 billion mega project in which the public will learn about potential cost overruns.

In his letter, Devin Dreeshen affirms the province's $1.53 billion commitment to the Green Line, but says there will be nothing for phase one beyond that.

"No additional funding will be available from the province for this project," reads the letter from the transportation minister.

"Secondly, the provincial funding is contingent on the City's Green Line being fully integrated with the province's recently announced master rail plan which is scheduled to for release next year," the letter continues.

Construction on the Green Line has been ongoing in Calgary for months. The LRT line is planned to run from Shepard in the southeast to Eau Claire, including a tunnel under downtown.

The province's new condition is "concerning," says Calgary's mayor.

"You can tinker with toy trains on your table all day long and try to come up with a plan," said Jyoti Gondek.

"We've got construction underway on the Green Line. So the Green Line, having to comply with a fictitious plan is going to mean opening up that contract," she added.

City officials have previously said they've cut project costs by about $400 million, but councillors acknowledge the budget is likely to climb beyond that.

"So it's inevitable that that the costs will escalate," said Andre Chabot, the councillor for Ward 10.

"How that gets covered -- whether we do it through debt financing or other means -- I think the plan is that we're moving ahead one way or another."

Premier Danielle Smith said Thursday she'd like to see the city reconsider its plans for the Green Line's route, including whether it should be built at-grade instead of underground.

"I've been very clear, I thought they made a mistake in the tunneling project that is the most expensive part of the project," Smith said.

"If it needs to be re-scoped, so that they can do it within their budget, then we would expect them to do so," she added.

An exact date of the Green Line's first phase completion hasn't been set, but it's estimated it will be sometime around 2030. Top Stories

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