Things are so close to the edge with the LRT system, the top priority for federal money is to rewire the storage garage at a cost of $5 million. City council next week will be told about what could possibly happen, and it is a worst case scenario.
“They’ve had a couple of issues over there with this thing getting really close to a max out,” said Brad Leeman, the city’s director of Infrastructure and Funding Strategies. Over there, is the D.L. MacDonald garage. The wiring has crews holding their breath some mornings, because that thing appears to be teetering.
On three occasions the trains almost didn’t run because of electrical problems. They’re this close to having things go from bad to worse.
“We’ve seen a couple warning signs here,” Leeman said. “Let’s proactively replace this thing before it fails. If it fails, this isn’t the kind of thing you just order off a shelf, there’s a little bit of time there, there’s not a couple of hour turnaround. We want to make sure we proactively get this and then replace it so it has enough capacity to deal with all of the electrical loading that they have up there.”
“Transit always has a Plan B and stuff like that. They can bring power in from other things but I would think it would be a slow down because as you know we park the trains in the D. L. MacDonald garage every night and bring them out every morning, this isn’t something that can be allowed to fail.”
The D.L. MacDonald upgrade tops a list of five items for city council to consider. Other items in the federal transit stimulus wish list include adding more vehicles, doing the planning for future LRT that was talked about at Wednesday’s Transportation Committee meeting and making improvements so buses can weave through traffic more easily.
$3.4 billion has been set aside by the Trudeau government over two to three years Canada wide. Alberta’s share is $347 million and Edmonton, based on ridership numbers should get around $140 million.
One concern about money is getting matching funding from the province. It might not come as quickly as the city would like so Leeman said they’re considering other options. “We’d have to find the money. We’re not sitting on $140 million of unallocated funds. For some of the smaller ones like the D.L. MacDonald, $5 million, we’ve found $2.5 million to back that one up pulling from other profiles.”
Council will also look at the Spring 2016 Supplemental Capital Budget Adjustment which has five projects that need more cash, including the police replacement helicopter that going to cost $2.5 million more than first thought, through more expensive U.S. dollars, plus the fact the old helicopter won’t fetch as much as first thought on the resale market.
Safety improvements for Manning Dr, worth $5.7 million will also be discussed.
Click here to see the full report of what council will be briefed on for both federal money, plus what they’ve found in savings, in items 6.1 and 6.2