Edmonton’s west LRT line, Yellowhead Trail could both receive federal funding

Click to play video: 'Yellowhead Trail, Valley Line LRT west could get federal funds'
Yellowhead Trail, Valley Line LRT west could get federal funds
WATCH ABOVE: Federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi said Yellowhead Trail and Valley Line Phase 2 both could receive funding from Ottawa. Julia Wong reports – Nov 2, 2016

It was news the City of Edmonton was happy to hear: Federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi assured funding to turn Yellowhead Trail into a freeway will not impact funding for phase 2 of the Valley Line LRT.

“The money is coming from two separate funding streams. One is for roadways and transportation infrastructure. Funding for the LRT is coming from dedicated public transit fund,” Sohi said.

“We’ll be able to fund both projects once we have done the proper due diligence on the approval.”

The Canadian government is spending $29 billion over 12 years in public transit across Canada.

“The federal government is absolutely stepping up when it comes to a longer term commitment for transit and a rising commitment to transit. So they’re growing the pie here which is fantastic news,” Mayor Don Iveson said.

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READ MORE: Notley government says yes to Yellowhead makeover, feds to review project

On Tuesday, Alberta Infrastructure Minister Brian Mason said the province will pay for its share of the Yellowhead project – $241.6 million – if Ottawa agrees to pitch in as well.

On the same day, Sohi acknowledged the Alberta government’s decision to contribute to the Yellowhead Trail project and said the federal government will review the request.

READ MORE: Protesters show up for Valley Line LRT groundbreaking

Phase 2 of the Valley Line will go from downtown to Lewis Farms in the west end. Construction of phase 1, which runs from Mill Woods to downtown, has started. It comes at an estimated cost of $1.8 billion.

Iveson said the federal government’s announcement means there will be 10 years of funding for the phase 2 project, rather than eight years.

“What that means for us is it’ll be that much more feasible for us to move ahead with Valley Line Phase 2, subject of course to getting commitment from our provincial governments, so that it’s not all on the backs of the municipality,” Iveson said.

The cost of the Valley Line Phase 2 is also estimated to be $1.8 billion.

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