Update - 17th June 2020
Yesterday, Council voted to approve the City's plan for the Green Line LRT, despite all the warnings about the costs and risks of the project.
Today, provincial Transportation Minister, Ric McIver, has announced that the province will be conducting its own analysis of the costs, benefits, and risks of the Green Line, putting their $1.5-billion share of the funding for this mammoth project on hold.
Though you will no doubt hear plenty of outrage from City Hall in the coming days, no one should be surprised by this development, least of all Council.
For a start, the province's $1.5 billion commitment was originally supposed to fund a third of a 46km long Green Line, but now it will barely cover the cost of just the bridge over the Bow River!
Second, City administration was making changes to their plans right up until the last possible second - even delaying the Green Line vote from Monday to Tuesday so they could make one last update to their plan to make sure they had enough votes at Council.
In the end, this project has become so expensive and so unwieldy that it fails what should be the primary objective of all transit projects - providing Calgarians with a cheap and efficient way to get around the City.
The City's own cost-benefit analysis shows that for every dollar of benefit there are two dollars of waste, and that's *after* the City tried to skew the analysis by including all sorts of indirect benefits like improved health, reduced emissions, jobs created, and wider economic benefits.
They also conveniently left out all the wider economic costs, such as opportunity costs (how else we could spend this money and the number of jobs that would create) and dead-weight-loss costs (the economic losses from taxing $5.5 billion out of the economy to pay for this project).
We hope that independent analysis that will be done by the province will shine a light on many of these issues we have been concerned about for years.
While we don't know what decision the provincial government will ultimately reach, we continue to believe that a referendum of all Calgarians should be held to determine the future of the Green Line.
Let Calgarians Decide On The Green Line
You may have already signed our petition to Calgary Council to cancel the Green Line.
If so, thank you for your support, but I'm sorry to report that it appears Council have decided to ignore you and the thousands of other Calgarians who are worried about the potential risks, waste, and cost-overruns from this project.
Don't worry though - things move fast at City Hall!
It's not too late to put a stop to this giant green elephant of a project - we just need to change tactics.
Last week, Calgary Council heard from Calgarians about the Green Line at a public meeting.
Council heard concerns from Calgarians about the higher taxes that would be needed to pay for the project, compared with alternative options.
Council heard concerns from Calgarians about a lack of consultation or an outright dismissal of what was said by the public during the consultation.
Council heard concerns from Calgarians about the damage that will be done to Prince's Island Park, given the new line runs right over the island.
Council heard concerns from Calgarians about the risk of cost overruns, and how the City will be liable for 100% of any extra costs.
Council heard concerns from Calgarians about a lack of transparency and accountability with the project as a whole.
Then, after public submissions were closed, Council heard from City Staff, who finally revealed that actually, the cost of the Green Line has increased AGAIN, from $4.9 billion to $5.5 billion.
The City waited until AFTER Council voted to proceed with the project to disclose that the $4.9 billion price doesn't even include financing costs!
Here are the newly released figures:
In the last week, it has become clear that all efforts to make Council see sense have failed.
City Council have made it clear that they will proceed with this reckless project, no matter what Calgarians say.
This is exactly the same tactic Council took with the Olympics bid.
A pre-determined decision, made by Council and administration, with no dissent allowed.
Calgarians deserve better.
For the Olympics bid, when Council refused to listen to Calgarians, the provincial government stepped in.
The provincial government decided that the City of Calgary had to hold a referendum if they wanted to receive the province's share of the funding.
It's time for the provincial government to do the same for the Green Line LRT.
Jason Kenney and the Alberta government must let Calgarians decide whether to build the Green Line, by requiring the City to hold a vote of all Calgarians as a condition of receiving provincial funding for the project.
The provincial government promised $1.5 billion of the Green Line, but when they made that promise, that $1.5 billion would have paid for 15.3km of the Green Line (one-third of the full 46km line).
Now, that same $1.5 billion will only pay for 5km of the Green Line (one-quarter of the shortened 20km line).
Given the massive changes to the project and the continued economic uncertainty in Calgary, this decision should be made by all Calgarians.
Only a referendum can do that.
Please sign our petition to Jason Kenney asking him for a referendum and then spread the word to your friends, family, co-workers, and every Calgarian, so that our voices can finally be heard by this Council.
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There has not been sufficient review of the problems which might exist and will become evident once detail design and, then, construction begins.