Thursday, May 21, 2009

Calgary finds funding partners for LRT improvements

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Calgary, the province of Alberta, and the Canadian federal government have agreed to supply C$270 million (US$235 million) to advance nine transit projects, including creating four-car light rail platforms and add a station on Calgary’s new west leg of its LRT system. Each of the three players will contribute C$90 million during the next two years.

Besides station platforms, other items to be funded include installation of electronic fare collection, transit signal priority projects, closed circuit television security, an advanced passenger information system, and LRT traction power upgrades. Improvements to existing Bus Rapid Transit park-and-ride lots also are in the plan.

Calgary’s west LRT station construction is expected to start in 2010. The city was the second North American municipality to launch modern LRT service, debuting May 25, 1981, following the three-year lead of Edmonton, Alberta, and beating San Diego’s launch of LRT service by two months. Today Calary Transit’s 28-mile C-Train system averages 297,500 rides per weekday, the second-highest in North America behind only Monterrey, Mexico.