O’Toole confirms Conservative commitment to Calgary Green Line LRT funding — with conditions

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole has confirmed his party's commitment to seeing the Calgary Green Line LRT project built, as long as certain conditions are met.

In a statement released Wednesday, O'Toole says a Conservative government will provide federal funding to the next Calgary city council as long as the project serves communities in the north and south, is completed in its entirety — from North Pointe to Seton — in a reasonable amount of time, and receives provincial approval.

“Calgarians need reliable access to public transit, and that’s exactly what a Conservative government will deliver,” said O’Toole.

“I am proud to support a project that will create jobs in a community that has been hit hard by both an economic and health crisis, and ensure we fuel a strong recovery for the city.”

Calgary Nose Hill Conservative candidate Michelle Rempel Garner also issued a statement, saying an increase in cost and reduction in scope for the project is the result of mismanagement.

“This has been heartbreaking for me and my community," she said.  

“North central Calgary is one of the most underserved parts of the city when it comes to public transit. This critical infrastructure is needed to promote social inclusion, equity, economic growth, and reduce GHG emissions in Calgary."

Both the federal and provincial governments have previously committed funding toward the project and O'Toole said Trudeau is to blame for ongoing delays.

Rempel Garner added she was "disappointed" the Liberal Party platform released Wednesday didn't mention the Green Line.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who is not running for re-election in the October municipal election, said he was somewhat confused by O'Toole's announcement, as the Green Line has already been approved by the federal government.

"What I'm reading that saying is they're actually going to cancel that approval, and they will only fund a different project, thereby leading to much more delay," he said.

"I will tell you unequivocally, the federal government, the previous Harper government and the Trudeau government, were in no way the cause of any delays on this project. That is all the government of Alberta, it is all Premier (Jason) Kenney, and to make aspersions otherwise is simply not true."

Construction on the $5.5 billion project is expected to start in the fall and create up to 20,000 jobs, however Nenshi has said that timeline may not be feasible.

The province reconfirmed its $1.56 billion funding commitment in July after rejecting the previous business plan in June 2020 over concerns that the plan council approved was different than what was handed to the province.

In June, the Green Line board said it had come to an agreement with the province, which brought about "greater cost certainty."

Completion of the project is planned for 2025 or 2026.

More information about Green Line can be found online.