July 6, 2017 7:48 pm
Updated: July 6, 2017 9:02 pm

Edmonton hoping for transit money after Calgary funding announcement

WATCH ABOVE: With Calgary getting provincial funding for its LRT extension, politicians in Edmonton are optimistically waiting for money to help with their own transit plans. Sarah Kraus reports.

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Alberta announced Thursday it will commit $1.5 billion towards Calgary’s Green Line LRT and that has Edmonton politicians anticipating a similar boost for local transit.

Premier Rachel Notley confirmed a portion of the province’s carbon tax will go towards the largest public infrastructure project in Calgary’s history.

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“Every cent of it, in terms of the provincial government’s contribution, is coming from the climate leadership fund, which is funded from the carbon levy,” Notley said. “It absolutely would not have been possible without it.”

The north to southeast LRT line will be 46 kilometres long and is expected to create 12,000 jobs. The LRT line is also expected to reduce greenhouse gases by 30,000 tonnes — equal to taking about 6,000 vehicles off the road.

READ MORE: Alberta government pledges $1.53B for Calgary’s Green Line LRT 

The Calgary news has Edmonton’s mayor optimistic of something similar for Alberta’s capital.

“I know that Edmonton is going to get something comparable,” Don Iveson said. “I know that anything less is not going to be politically acceptable.”

The first priority would be the west expansion of the Valley Line LRT out to West Edmonton Mall and Lewis Estates. If Edmonton also receives $1.5 billion, the west LRT would take up about $550 million of that, leaving money for other legs.

“We have another, close to $1 billion that would allow us to go to Blatchford, which is sort of priority 1B and potentially doing some of the bus-rapid transit to other parts of town,” Coun. Andrew Knack said.

READ MORE: Provincial transit funding shortfall ‘sideswipes’ infrastructure agenda: Edmonton mayor 

“It’s great news for Calgary and it bodes very well for what we’re going to get here in Edmonton,” Iveson added. “I can assure you we’re having active conversations with the province. It’s just a little more complicated in Edmonton because instead of having just one big project, we have a series of different projects, starting with the west LRT.”

While the details haven’t been announced, the NDP is reassuring Edmontonians they won’t be left out.

“We are committed — and I want to make this clear — as a government, to transit for both our major cities — for all our municipalities — but to LRT in Edmonton and Calgary,” Infrastructure Minister Brian Mason said.

That’s a position Edmonton’s mayor welcomes.

“I’m quite optimistic that before the next municipal election we’ll have a significant announcement for Edmonton to allow us to proceed west and ideally in other directions as well.”

— With files from Sarah Kraus

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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