The federal government has announced 1.5 billion dollars from the Public Transit Fund will be awarded to the Green Line project in Calgary. This is the single largest infrastructure investment in Alberta's history.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said at a news conference that the 40-kilometre light rail line will begin construction in 2017 and be completed by 2024.
"Building the Green Line LRT now means nearly doubling the size of Calgary's LRT network and serving over 40 million riders a year," Nenshi said in a news release.
In the release, Michelle Rempel, federal minister of state for western economic diversification, said the Green Line will offer relief for Calgary's crowded transit corridors.
The Green Line was initially planned to be constructed over more than 30 years, starting as a bus-only Transitway, and later converting to LRT.
Currently, 290,000 Calgarians are estimated to live along the Green Line corridor, with thousands more working and visiting the newly developing employment hubs and community activity centres on the route.
The Green Line will add an additional 40 kilometres of track to the existing 59 kilometre LRT network. End-to-end, the route will connect North Pointe and Seton to downtown.
Modeled after the existing CTrain system, which is 100 per cent powered by renewable wind energy, the Green Line will be environmentally sustainable.
Calgary's current population is 1.19 million and will increase to about 1.89 million in the next 30 years. It is estimated that the Green Line will service 41 million passengers annually.
The Green Line will use low-floor trains which have similar capacity to current CTrains (780 passengers/3 car train), and carry over 8 times the number of passengers of an articulated bus.
Officials anticipate that ride times will be cut in half on the southeast leg of the Green Line with the completion of LRT. Current ride times are clocked at about 69 minutes to the downtown core from the southeast; this will be reduced to about 35 minutes.