Calgary city council spent hours Monday debating the so-called “Stage 1” of the Green Line LRT, but now two councillors want even more debate.
Council has approved the first phase pending presentation of the final alignment for the entire project, which is due next month. Stage 1 would run between 16 Avenue North and Shepard in Southeast Calgary. The $4.65-billion dollar line would include 20 kilometres of track, a tunnel under the Bow River, and 14 C-Train stations.
Now councillors Shane Keating and Andre Chabot are putting new proposals on the table.
Keating, the councillor for Ward 12, is holding out hope the line can extend more than the 20 kilometres council has approved. He believes the city should ask bidders for more when the project goes to tender. “Rather than saying ‘how much is it going to cost us to build phase one?’ when they go to tenders, one of the weighting factors should be ‘how much can you build beyond phase one in your tender?” Keating said.
“I think one of the very weighted components of that bid should be, the very least is Point A to Point B. But if you give us more than that, and it’s still in our budget, that’s where we’re would determine who would actually get the contract.”
Coun. Andre Chabot, meanwhile, thinks the $4.65-billion dollar budget for Stage 1 is too high. Chabot is proposing that administration reduce the budget to $3.82 billion. He believes the full length of Stage 1 could be completed for less if the city doesn’t build out stations that won’t be needed when service is scheduled to begin in 2026. “Who knows,” the Ward 10 councillor said. “You take out some of the stations along the way, you know stations cost a lot of money, and some of those stations are actually going to be serving nobody day one. Why are you putting them in?”
Chabot maintains that his proposal could save the city $40 million a year in interest payments.
However, since Stage 1 has already been approved by a a 12-3 margin by council, Chabot’s proposal would need 10 votes before that original decision could be reconsidered.
with files from Aurelio Perri, News Talk 770.