The City of Calgary is asking the federal government for $7 billion to fund new public transit developments, recent budget submissions reveal. 

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said the city wants $7 billion from Ottawa to complete a 46 kilometre plan to connect “key destinations” and integrate future rail connections to Calgary International Airport. 

The city also wants the government to establish a permanent federal funding mechanism to “set Canada on a path towards 21st century public transit and public infrastructure nationwide by allocating funds directly to transit systems and municipalities. “

“This mechanism will unlock local expertise—and support the continuous growth of the transit and municipal infrastructure Canadians rely on. The mechanism must be based on the principles of flexible, stackable, sustainable and long-term funding for municipalities,” Gondek said in a letter to the federal Finance department. 

Gondek also recommended the federal government leverage the city’s $100 million investment in revitalising its downtown with an investment of its own and use it as a pilot for the “national approach.” She said the city’s plan will remove 665,000 square feet of vacant office space and replace it with approximately 700 new residential units. 

“Interest in this program has already exceeded The City’s $100 million investment and this creates a tremendous opportunity for the Government of Canada to leverage both City and private investment that might otherwise be left on the table,” Gondek wrote.

“All of Calgary, and by extension, all of Alberta, benefits from a strong downtown, and as such, we would be pleased to share with you the details around these programs and projects.”

Gondek acknowledged the city has already received $48 million in federal grants through the Rapid Housing Initiative which will result in 301 new affordable units. But, she says Calgary is “still disadvantaged” as it received 2.2% of the overall funding despite being home to 4% of the nation’s population and 8% of Canadians experiencing homelessness. 

She recommended the federal government increase affordable housing funding “in alignment with the city’s percentage of national population and percentage of Canadians experiencing homelessness.”

Calgary also wants an annual $13 million investment for local mental health and addictions funding. The city has invested $25 million to this effect.

Finally, Gondek asked Ottawa to leverage the city’s s $86 million investment in the Sunnyside Flood Barrier and Stormwater Infrastructure Climate Resilience Improvements by allocating $58 million from Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund to these projects. 

The city also sent a budget submission to the government of Alberta, but did not request specific budget amounts for projects. 


  • Rachel Emmanuel

    Rachel is a seasoned political reporter who’s covered government institutions from a variety of levels. A Carleton University journalism graduate, she was a multimedia reporter for three local Niagara newspapers. Her work has been published in the Toronto Star. Rachel was the inaugural recipient of the Political Matters internship, placing her at The Globe and Mail’s parliamentary bureau. She spent three years covering the federal government for iPolitics. Rachel is the Alberta correspondent for True North based in Edmonton.