Calgary’s 30-year transit plan includes a subway along 8th Avenue, a Shaganappi expressway for high-occupancy vehicles, and LRT connections that span nearly 350 blocks from north to south.
The price tag for all this? An estimated $8 billion.
That’s according to the city’s “Route Ahead” program, which projects transportation needs and attempts to get ahead of Calgary’s continued growth.
“That is a huge, huge, huge and important conversation for us to have,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Monday during an all-day special meeting of council to review the plan.
One proposal is a so-called “orange line” for the LRT, running from Northpointe through downtown all the way to Seton in the southeast.
By “marrying” the previously discussed north-central and southeast LRT lines into a single route, Nenshi hoped it would avoid some of the political disputes over which line to build first.
“It’s all one line,” he said. “And so the question is: Do you start from the middle? Do you start from the ends?”
The city has no money set aside for any of these projects and would rely mainly on provincial and federal funding.
"This is all very exciting. Now all we have to do is find $8 billion." - Mayor Naheed Nenshi
Bruce Foster, a professor of policy studies at Mount Royal University, thinks it’s a good strategy for Calgary to outline its needs well ahead of time but said money from higher levels of government won’t flow easily.
“You never get what you ask for simply because the competition for finite resources is intense,” he said.
“All cities have their wish lists and transit is awfully expensive.”
More on the plan:
- Council deferred a vote on adopting the principles and decision-making criteria outlined in the plan until its next regular meeting on Sept. 24.
- The plan includes several “transitways” – designated bus routes that could be converted to rail routes later on.