Feds commit $400M for Capital Line LRT expansion into southwest Edmonton

Click to play video: 'Federal funding for Edmonton LRT expansion'
Federal funding for Edmonton LRT expansion
Canada's infrastructure minister stopped in Edmonton Tuesday to celebrate the final approval for yet another expansion of the city's LRT, this time further southwest. Sarah Ryan has the details. – Jul 27, 2021

Edmonton’s LRT system will officially be expanding farther south after a federal funding announcement Tuesday morning.

Canada’s Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna joined Mayor Don Iveson at the Century Park LRT Station Tuesday to announce nearly $400 million in federal funding toward Phase 1 of the Capital Line LRT expansion into southwest Edmonton.

The extension will add 4.5 kilometres of double-track from Century Park to Ellerslie Road and will include two new permanent LRT stations at Twin Brooks and Ellerslie, an underpass at the 23 Avenue crossing, and a new bridge across Anthony Henday Drive.

The project also includes an operations, maintenance and storage facility, the purchase of 24 electrically powered light rail vehicles, as well as the expansion and integration with the Heritage Valley park and ride facility.

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Click to play video: 'Valley Line versus Capital Line: Which LRT is faster?'
Valley Line versus Capital Line: Which LRT is faster?

The project will create 9,500 jobs, mostly during construction, but also in operations and maintenance moving forward. The federal government said the project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 269,000 tonnes by 2050, and will see 11.9 million fewer vehicle kilometres travelled in its opening year of operation.

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“Investing in public transit is at the heart of a clean and inclusive recovery,” McKenna said in a news release. “Through this investment, we’re helping take more cars off the road and reduce emissions, create good jobs and build more inclusive communities.”

The remainder of the project’s funding will come from the municipal and provincial governments.

“Alberta’s government recognizes this is a critically important project, not just for Edmontonians, but for all Albertans,” said Alberta Transportation Minister Rajan Sawhney in a news release.

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“Alberta’s ongoing commitment to Edmonton’s LRT network will help to support Edmonton transit users and Alberta’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by creating local jobs. By supporting this project, the government of Alberta is laying the groundwork for the future of transit in the city’s fastest growing area.”

In what could be one of his last major announcements as mayor, Iveson said a strong public transit system is the backbone of a livable, competitive city.

“By connecting some of the city’s fastest-growing communities, the Capital Line South LRT extension strengthens our economic and environmental prosperity. An expanded LRT network contributes to a resilient and green economic recovery for our city and will result in faster commutes and less gridlock. Our federal and provincial partners prove that, with this strategic investment, all orders of government contribute to our economic and social prosperity.”

Future phases of the project will see the line extended farther south to Heritage Valley and northwest toward Castle Downs.

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