Calgary, July 6, 2017 - Today’s Green Line funding announcement by the province is a slap in the face to Ward 4 residents.
The announcement builds light rail in the deep Southeast through downtown, but delivers no trains to any community north of 16th Avenue North . Sadly, this is exactly what Sean Chu campaigned on last election.
He made his position clear in his campaign literature in 2013, stating that the North Central LRT route “should not be the next priority route”, and that it should wait until “after the South East LRT route is completed.”
He got his wish.
Not only has he completely failed to advocate for this project, Sean Chu is being incredibly dishonest in his most recent campaign update (https://vimeo.com/222321095 at 1:10) when he states “When it seemed impossible, I fought and won funding for the Green Line to extend to our northernmost communities.” This is ludicrous.
No extra funding has been identified and the train is not coming to our northernmost communities in the foreseeable future. Furthermore, every single time the province has vacated tax room he’s voted against using it; tax room that could have been used to fund this exact project.
Years ago, the city identified the North Central corridor as its top priority for LRT service. No wonder: Centre Street is Calgary’s most heavily used bus corridor with some 35,000 passengers a day. It is so heavily used that the city cannot add more bus capacity.
“Often in the winter loaded buses can't pick up people waiting at the bus stops, leaving people in the cold for 30 minutes or more”, says Caroline Wilson, a regular bus rider from Beddington Heights. “It's very disappointing that the Green Line won’t be here for Ward 4 commuters."
Without a train, bus riders on Centre Street must fight for a seat. Traffic on Centre Street will stay congested. Commuters in growing communities north of Stoney Trail will be left with little transportation choice. These growing populations will either drive through Ward 4, or take seats on buses coming through Ward 4.
Ward 4 residents pay their fare share for the roads, pipes, and other infrastructure in our communities. The neighbourhoods in Ward 4 are overdue for investment. But while today’s announcement will see $4.65 Billion spent in Wards 7, 8, 9 and 12, none of it will be invested in Ward 4.
Unlike Sean Chu, I’ve always advocated for our train. I’ll fight for smart investment in Ward 4. Our communities deserve nothing less.