CALGARY- Mayor Naheed Nenshi says even though the City of Calgary was promised a lot leading up to today’s provincial budget, in the end, the city got very little.
Nenshi says early analysis of the budget shows very little money was allotted for public transportation to be used in the GreenTRIP transit program.
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“We set aside nearly $1 billion at the municipal level,” says Nenshi. “We got that money and that will build seven busways across all of the city touching every quadrant and the GreenTRIP money that was reaffirmed today is a part of that so I was very happy to see that. However, our needs are $13 billion… so if you want to see more LRT, you want to see more rail, then the federal and particularly the provincial governments need to come to the table in a much more significant way than they have.”
He also says the province’s commitment to build over 450 new housing units across Alberta is inadequate, saying the city of Calgary alone could use all those units. Nenshi says he plans to approach the Redford government for more money to secure more affordable housing for Calgarians in need of it.
But Nenshi also points to some positive news in Finance Minister Doug Horner’s budget. The new budget reveals $1.8 billion has been allocated to completing the southwest Calgary ring road. The province says it will tender contracts for the 41 kilometre section in several stages. But the Redford government says it still cannot predict when the project will be finished as it is still waiting for Ottawa’s approval of its deal with Tsuu T’ina First Nation.
-with files from Gary Bobrovitz