LRT funding a big win for Edmonton, but it is enough to save Redford?

Mayor Don Iveson, surrounded by Edmonton city councillors and PC MLAs (photo by mastermaq, creative commons licensed)
Mayor Don Iveson, surrounded by Edmonton city councillors and PC MLAs (photo by mastermaq, creative commons licensed)

Just five days after provincial finance minister Doug Horner was criticized for delivering a budget that was absent of additional funding to expand the south east section of the “Valley Line” of Edmonton’s LRT system,  provincial politicians announced yesterday that it would commit $600 million towards the project.

Surrounded by city councillors and local Progressive Conservative MLAs, and awkwardly crammed into the narrowest section of the Churchill LRT concourse, Premier Alison Redford, Mayor Don Iveson and Mr. Horner announced the details of the the provincial government’s committment:

- up to $250 million under GreenTRIP over three years beginning in 2016-17 upon approval under the second call for GreenTRIP projects.
– up to $150 million in matching provincial funding if the federal government approves this project under the new Building Canada Fund beginning in 2016-17.
– up to $200 million in an interest-free loan to be repaid by the city over 10 years, fully backed by the Alberta Capital Finance Authority.

The announcement followed months of lobbying and public advocacy by Mr. Iveson, councillor Amarjeet Sohi and council members who unanimously made LRT expansion their first priority when they took office last October.

This is exciting news for Edmonton, as the City will now tender contracts and begin construction on the new LRT line next year. When it is completed in 2020, the Valley Line expansion through the south east into Mill Woods will provide LRT service to hundreds of thousands of Edmontonians.

It is, perhaps, not unintentional that much of the funding announced yesterday will be included in a budget that will be tabled immediately before the 2016 election. That budget, and this announcement, will play a defining role in the PC Party’s campaign for re-election.

Amid rumours of caucus dissent, the latest accusations that Ms. Redford used a government plane to attend a PC Party fundraiser and recent polling showing her approval ratings in the 20 percent range, the governing Tories are in desperate need of a public relations win.

Funding for LRT expansion is a big win for Edmonton, but the announcement alone might not be enough to convince Albertans to forgive the scandals that continue to dog the premier and her government.

8 thoughts on “LRT funding a big win for Edmonton, but it is enough to save Redford?”

  1. City still needs the Building Canada Fund money from the federal government. Getting a grant through the approval process in Ottawa when application criteria have not yet been announced will mean cutting it tight.

  2. No, I don’t think the LRT extension– will be enough to save Ms. Redford.

    I think we now understand that we only get our own public money given back to us when the Tories are in trouble or when there is an election.

    The Tories have been incompetent in many portfolios such as child welfare and their lack of performance has been detrimental to vulnerable children and also rural Alberta families who have been adversely impacted by oil and gas development in close proximity to their communities.
    The Tories might still survive their decades of incompetence—if they actually did their jobs while they are in their end game years. I am doubtful they will wake up from their usual coma of– –incomprehensible babble, lies, fantasy and occasional facts. They simply pretend to represent us. City folks have bought this sort of poor representation but it looks like the urban folks were more canny. I suppose the urban folks had the experience of poor governance made visible to them on a regular basis.

    If the Tories did something about the environmental messes such as the current emission/ fracking problems faced by rural Albertans they might win the folks in rural Alberta back that they have mostly lost. But I think the Tories are too arrogant to change their stripes and spots now.

    You only need to look at cases such as the recent case of Diana Daunheimer who has to defend her family against the messes created by big oil while the energy regulator and the government of Alberta allow “best in the world regulations” to be their only contribution to the resolution of such environmental disasters–to understand the corruption of our democracy.

    http://www.dw.de/canadian-awaits-verdict-on-fracking-nightmare/a-17411547

    OIL
    Canadian awaits verdict on fracking nightmare
    Diana Daunheimer still finds it hard to believe that big mining companies have started fracking practically in her backyard. The Canadian vegetable grower sees a court case as her only way out.
    **********************************************

    I think this type of governance failure on the part of the Tories —where ordinary families have been adversely impacted by oil and gas companies is just plain wrong.
    I say that all of us should write to the premier and our MLAs and encourage them to do their jobs.
    I say that we should still fire them all in the next election.
    Why would we accept bribes like the LRT extension— when the health of our kids will be impacted in such situations as that experienced by Ms. Daunheimer?
    And don’t think it won’t happen to city families.
    Lethbridge is now trying to prevent drilling in their part of the world.
    Calgary has had families fighting urban drilling.
    Will urban families in Alberta only speak out against the poor governance of the Tories when their families are impacted?

    It is pretty sad that Albertans might let themselves be bought with our money–in this case our own money is coming from the Tories to pay for an LRT extension.

  3. That should have been:

    City folks have bought this sort of poor representation but it looks like the rural folks were more canny. I suppose the rural folks had the experience of poor governance made visible to them on a regular basis.

  4. Did anyone else notice that the Honourable Thomas Lukaszuk was missing at the press conference? Very uncharacteristic of Thomas to miss a chance to be in front of a camera. I wonder why he wasn’t there….

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