$520M Transit Expansion Approved

City Council approved adjustments to the 2014 business plans, operating from a capital budgets on Nov. 27, of this approval was what to do with the $52 million in 2014 tax room.

One of the proposals for the tax room money came from Coun. Shane Keating recommending the money be put towards a transit expansion.

The project would be a bus-only transitway that could be converted into an LRT stretching from the South Health Campus to Harvest Hills Boulevard, called the “green line.”

Mayor Naheed Nenshi explained that Calgarians particularly in the southeast and north-central areas of Calgary have transit as a top priority. He also said that with deficits and flood costs it will be unlikely that provincial and federal governments will fund transit projects any time soon.

The $52 million tax room, had been pegged for a few different options, such as flood recovery efforts for the city’s waterworks utility and the money being returned to Calgarians, but for 2014 the winner was the rebate.

The rebate will be given to property owners from the 2014 $52 million tax room, which will translate to about a $100 rebate.

Starting in 2015 and continuing to 2024 the $52 million tax room will go to funding the “green line.”

Along with the transit expansion, and a number of other non-flood adjustments to the 2014 capital budget were given the go-ahead.

Designing and constructing the Glenmore Trail and Ogden Road interchange and adjacent roadways was approved with $20 million in 2014, toward the total project cost of $102 million.

Funding of $49 million to fund the Bowness Sanitary Sewer Upgrade was given the green light, as well as the $5.2 million to fund the Bowmont East Stormwater Retrofit project in 2015.

A $200,000 increase was approved for the land servicing and housing program funded by the Real Estate Services Reserve, in order to complete phase one work of Saddleridge Area Structure Plan.

The proposed 55,000 additional transit hours including an increased frequency of buses to reduce wait times and 10,000 additional Access Calgary rides to meet increased demand for accessible transit service across Calgary will be implemented with funding coming from the increased revenue from ridership.

Some of the flood related adjustments that were approved by City Council included restoring riverbanks and repair water infrastructure to pre-flood levels and restoring various damages to some of the City’s parks that were affected by the floods.

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