The proposed Green Line LRT is the largest public infrastructure project in Calgary’s history. With an estimated cost of $5.5 billion for Phase 1, it runs between northcentral and southeast Calgary and it will be the third line in the city’s CTrain system, linking with the existing Blue and Red lines in the city’s core.
Funding for construction of the Green Line is split between the municipal, provincial and federal governments. Funding for operations would come from municipal taxation and fares collected from commuters. After a pause forced by the Alberta government to re-assess whether the project has a strong business case, the federal and provincial governments approved their share of funding on July 7, 2021. Construction could start in the fall.
The Green Line has been controversial and the next council will have to deal with lingering concerns.
Critics worry the Green Line has a weak business case, could run billions over budget and result in more municipal tax increases. They are concerned that a planned tunnel under Calgary’s downtown would be expensive and disrupt traffic for years. They say the Green Line would be poorly used because there are fewer commuters to Calgary’s downtown because of declining oil and gas employment, the pandemic has resulted in more people working from home, ridership between southeast Calgary and downtown is low and could be served at a lower cost by upgrading bus service.
Proponents say the Green Line would kick-start Calgary’s depressed economy by creating 20,000 jobs, reduce traffic congestion and associated emissions, and provide public transit fuelled by wind-generated electricity. It would offer opportunities for the development of affordable housing near stations and improve the affordability of living in Calgary. Some argue the Green Line only makes sense if it goes further north and connects to Calgary International Airport, and further southeast to connect to new communities.
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