Friday, August 30, 2013

Edmonton LRT expansion suffers setback

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Edmonton, Alberta's southeast Valley Line light rail transit expansion will not open in 2019 as originally expected, as the City Council declined to approve additional borrowing of C$515 million to maintain the project's momentum.

As a result, the line's completion most likely will be delayed by two years, Mayor Stephen Mandel told local media.

"By the time we get all the funding in place, I think 2020 or 2021 is reasonable," Mandell said. Mandell expects project funding to be available.

Edmonton already has committed C$800 million to  C$1.8 billion first phase of the line to Mill Woods, matched by C$235 million from Alberta's Green Trip transit program and C$250 million from federal sources. Additional funding for the next extension, from Mill Woods to Ellerslie, is now on hold.

Construction of the southeast Valley Line was originally scheduled to begin in 2015, with selection of a design-build-operate-maintain (DBOM) private contractor originally planned for next month.

Edmonton Light Rail Transit was the first North American modern LRT system to open, debuting April 22, 1978.