Canada Confirms C$1.53B Investment in Calgary Light Rail

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada on July 7 confirmed the government’s investment of C$1.53 billion (US$1.22 billion) for Calgary’s Green Line Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project, making good on the commitment that was announced in May 2018.

Railway Age in 2018 called it the “largest-ever infrastructure investment made by Ottawa in the province of Alberta.”

The government of Alberta and the city of Calgary are contributing C$1.53 billion (US$1.22 billion) and C$1.59 billion (US$1.27 billion) to the project, respectively. Both are now “continuing due diligence on the project,” according to the federal government. “The federal funding is subject to the necessary federal due diligence on the revised business case recently submitted [June 24] to the government of Canada. The government will continue to work with the province of Alberta and the city of Calgary to ensure this review is undertaken quickly.”

Calgary was required to submit a revised business case to the provincial and federal governments after revising the alignment of the Green Line LRT in June 2020 (see map, left). At the same time, the provincial government launched a comprehensive review of the project to ensure it was technically and financially sound. 

The recommendations of the provincial review were shared with Calgary in fall 2020. The city addressed the recommendations in the business case that was submitted to the province in late May, and subsequently submitted to the federal government on June 24.

Calgary is taking a phased approached to construction:

• Phase 1: 18 kilometers (11.2 miles) of LRT from Shepard (126 Avenue S.E.) to Eau Claire, connecting the southeast to downtown and into the existing Red/Blue lines. This phase includes bus rapid transit improvements along Centre Street to 160 Avenue, and a Maintenance and Facility Station at Shepard. In May 2021, PCL Construction Management Inc. was selected as CM contractor. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2021.

• Phase 2: 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) of LRT from Eau Claire to 16 Avenue North.

“By investing in smart public transit projects, we’re reducing gridlock, helping more Calgarians get to and from work, creating good middle class jobs, growing the economy, and fighting climate change,” Trudeau said. “As we set the course for an inclusive recovery from COVID‑19, we will keep focusing on laying the foundations for long-term, sustainable growth to create a Canada that is cleaner, more competitive, and more resilient for generations to come.”

“The federal government’s investment of up to C$1.53 billion for the Calgary Green Line will play a key role in shaping the future of the city by helping residents get around faster, cleaner, and cheaper,” said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “Investments in public transit create good jobs and grow the economy, tackle climate change, and build more inclusive communities.”

“Alberta’s C$1.53 billion commitment toward the Green Line is a massive investment in the future of Calgary, one we are happy to make, because we believe our best days are ahead of us,” said Ric McIver, Alberta’s Minister of Transportation. “I’m grateful for the hard work done by the technical experts at the province and the city to make the Green Line a functional project that connects to the rest of the LRT network. I am confident that the Green Line is in a stronger, more certain position today, and is in the capable hands of an experienced project team who can take this important project forward.”

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