All aboard; Harper government provides more Edmonton LRT funding

The Harper government promises another $150 million for Edmonton's south east LRT expansion, Monday, May 26, 2014. Fletcher Kent, Global News

EDMONTON – The federal government says it will contribute more money for the Edmonton south east LRT line.

The City of Edmonton is receiving an additional $150-million from the Building Canada Fund.

Federal Cabinet Minister Rona Ambrose made the announcement Monday morning at the South Campus LRT station along side Mayor Don Iveson and Alberta Transportation and infrastructure Minister Wayne Drysdale.

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“We know that a world class transit system will not only benefit Edmonton residents and visitors, it will also create jobs and support growth here in Edmonton and throughout Alberta,” said Ambrose.

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It’s expected that the latest contribution will allow the city to move forward with construction of the Valley Line without delay.

“I applaud the federal government that making this investment now saves our taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, and it means that we can people and goods moving in this region as soon as possible,” said Iveson.

The money brings the total federal funding for the LRT to $400-million.

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Monday’s announcement means the city can now start looking for qualified construction companies. The city says delaying the start of construction on the project by a year would have increased the cost by $65 to $80-million.

“This is a strong signal out there to potential bidders that this is a real project. It’s viable as funding and that’s going to attract competitors and that’s going to hopefully mean we can get best value for money,” said Iveson.

The province has committed to contributing up to $600-million.

“As we all know, Alberta and our capital city are growing at an incredible rate. I think we can all agree that a long term vision is crucial when it comes to planning our transportation network and to the Building Alberta Plan,” said Drysdale.

The city will contribute up to $800-million for the project.

The south east LRT line will run from Mill Woods to downtown at a total cost of $1.8-billion.

Current plans have the line open by 2020.

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