West to southeast LRT line could be delayed over $500M funding gap
Published Friday, June 14, 2013 5:23PM MDT Last Updated Friday, June 14, 2013 7:10PM MDT
A multi-million dollar transit project could face delays, as officials face major funding gap, which was supposed to be filled with contributions from the federal and provincial governments.
The first phase of the southeast to west LRT line, between downtown and southeast Edmonton, is slated to cost $1.8 billion.
Of that, the city is expected to contribute $800 million – with $250 million from the federal government, and $235 million from the province.
However, it’s not confirmed where the rest of the money will come from – and that has city officials urging council to slow the project down, in an effort to make sure the city gets the best value for money through the bidding process.
“The large corporations looking at these kinds of projects are not going to spend millions of dollars to put together a bid, unless in their view they see money on the table,” City of Edmonton Transportation GM Bob Boutilier said.
On the other hand, Mayor Stephen Mandel said the city would find a way to deal with the funding shortfall.
“Council is committed to building the southeast LRT, and people expect us to do it and we’ll find a way to do it,” Mandel said.
A press secretary with the Ministry of Transportation said the chance of securing the funds soon is slim.
“In terms of new funding, it doesn’t exist at this point,” Parker Hogan said.
Boutilier suggested the city delay the construction project for the next 6 to 8 months, which would allow the city time to ensure new funding grants from the province and Ottawa, which will be available next year, would be secured.
Construction on the project is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2015, with service beginning in 2019.
With files from Nicole Weisberg