The highly-anticipated Valley Line West LRT project is one major step closer to fruition thanks to a recent overwhelming City Council vote in support of a $30.5 million procurement process. The procurement process will involve the hiring of engineering consultants and legal experts, in conjunction with the often costly realities of construction preparation in the form of utility relocation and surveying. The projected costs are in addition to the $179 million already approved by the City for design, route work, and land acquisition for the $2.9 billion 14km LRT line.
Despite the positive outcome, there remain a select handful of City Council members - Tim Cartmell and Mike Nickel, in particular - who have yet to be won over by the core concept of rapid transit running through the heart of the city. Reported by the CBC to have been apparently confused over the proper definitions of "Streetcar" and "LRT," and either purposefully or earnestly continuing to conflate the two while voicing their concerns, Couns. Cartmell and Nickel were thankfully vastly outnumbered. This being said, it is important to note, especially among vast swaths of suburban voters, that such misguided attacks on the merits of fast, reliable, public transportation are not uncommon, neither here in Edmonton or countless other cities across the country.
Interested in the future of rapid transit in Edmonton? Does the notion of more light rail criss-crossing the city excite - or perhaps infuriate - you to no end? Tell us all about it in the comments section below!