The province is committing about $1 billion towards Edmonton’s Valley Line West LRT expansion.
On Thursday morning, Premier Rachel Notley announced her government is putting $1.04 billion towards the west leg of the Valley Line and an additional $131 million towards the expansion of the Metro Line to Blatchford.
“For many Edmontonians, public transit is the way they connect to their neighbouring communities and in bringing communities and people together, transit makes those communities overall,” Notley said.
Watch below: The west Valley Line LRT project is one step closer to becoming a reality. The province has stepped up with a major funding commitment. Tom Vernon reports.
Notley said investing in public transportation is an important factor in not only connecting Albertans but growing the economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. She said the Valley Line will eliminate 4,000 tonnes of gas emissions in its first year of operation, and create 37,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Notley said funding for the LRT is coming from the province’s Climate Leadership Plan, better known as the carbon tax.
“To be very clear, there are some folks out there who want us to cancel this Climate Leadership Plan. If we listen to them, all of this construction would be stopped, all of these workers would be told to not pick up the tools but rather to put them down and look elsewhere.”
The west leg of the Valley Line will run from downtown to Lewis Farms. The entire Valley Line is a 27-kilometre route that has been split into two stages — Mill Woods to downtown, which is currently under construction, and downtown to the west end.
Mayor Don Iveson said completing the west portion of the Valley Line is critical in moving ahead of “traffic congestion and growth pressure.”
“When fully built out, the Valley Line will help tens of thousands of Edmontonians move in and out of our downtown, enjoy our river valley, get to school or to appointments and travel to neighbourhoods that haven’t been well served by public transit in the past,” Iveson said.
Watch Below: Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson calls the province’s funding announcement for the west leg of the Valley Line a “historic day.”
On Tuesday, the city’s urban planning committee approved a two-way traffic final concept plan on Stony Plain Road between 149 Street and 156 Street and rejecting a contentious proposal to have a one-way street for personal vehicles on the stretch.
The final plan will result in no parking spots for vehicles on the seven-block stretch of Stony Plain Road, however, the urban planning committee indicated it believes there will be sufficient parking available on side streets.
Iveson said the low-floor LRT design will be a catalyst for “a new kind of urban growth.”
“Including new opportunities for neighbourhood retail, more dense and vibrant streets and walkable, connected communities. The Valley Line is the key that will open the door to a different kind of Edmonton,” he said.
The mayor said it will also provide a more reliable form of transportation for commuters.
“On a bus today, it’s a lot longer than that, even on an express because the buses are caught in traffic, but when this region is 2-million people, you will not be able to drive in 30 minutes from here to downtown, but you will still be able to get there on the train in 30 minutes reliably,” Iveson said.
Watch Below: Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said it will take transit users 30 minutes to get from Lewis Estates to the downtown core.
The estimated cost of Valley Line West is $2.6 billion.
The City of Edmonton’s Adam Laughlin said the next step is to have procurement ready at the beginning of 2019, with the goal of completing the project in 2027 or 2028.
Watch Below: Adam Laughlin with the City of Edmonton explains what the next steps are for the Valley Line West expansion project.
The 13-kilometre southeast leg of the Valley Line was awarded to TransEd, a consortium of companies including Bombardier and Ellis Don. The $1.8-billion project is due to open in 2020.