Alberta’s carbon tax will deliver C$1.53 billion over the next eight years to fund an extension of Calgary’s light rail transit system, Premier Rachel Notley and Mayor Naheed Nenshi announced last week.
“Every cent of it, in terms of the provincial government’s contribution, is coming from the Climate Leadership (Plan), which is funded by the carbon levy,” Notley said. “It creates jobs, it helps with the innovation around the kind of urban planning objectives that people in Calgary who want to grow the city know they need to embrace, and of course it reduces emissions”. Those factors make transit investment “absolutely the kind of project we have always envisioned would flow” from the province’s still-controversial levy.
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Nenshi called the commitment “the largest single investment in infrastructure funding in Alberta government history,” a move that will cut Calgary’s greenhouse gas emissions, reduce traffic, relieve pressure on a crowded transit system, and complete a project that has been on the city’s to-do list since the 1980s.
The province will cover one-third of the cost of the transit expansion, JWN Energy reports. The city and the federal government have already announced their shares. Citing the city’s estimate, JWN puts the annual GHG reduction from the C-Train’s new Green Line at 30,000 tonnes per year, the equivalent of taking 6,000 cars off the road.
“The opposition Progressive Conservatives said they support the province’s funding pledge despite being highly critical of government spending,” the industry news outlet notes, with PC Leader Rick McIver calling the announcement “very good news”.
“It is a long, slow, painful commute for tens of thousands of people every single day,” said McIver, a former Calgary city councillor whose riding is at the southern end of the new line. “This is a good investment.”