Nenshi dreams of big dollars for Calgary in provincial budget

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Calgary's mayor says he has a wish list for the upcoming provincial budget which will be revealed this Thursday, but he's trying to be realistic.

"To be perfectly honest, the state of the province's finances are such that I'm not expecting much," Naheed Nenshi said.

That said, it's hardly a surprise that Nenshi is hoping some provincial cash will be announced for a couple of Calgary priority projects.

A provincial commitment for the Green Line tops the mayor's list.

Both the city and the federal government have already committed $1.5 billion dollars each towards the mega-project.

The city has been moving ahead with the planning process for Calgary's next LRT line and has started acquiring properties needed to make way for the train.

"Wouldn't it be nice if we actually saw a real commitment to the Green Line, whether from the carbon levy or from something else," said Nenshi.

"They've been spending money telling us to keep working, which is a very good indication that they're going to fund the whole thing. But I would like to see that commitment."

Affordable housing cash also on list

Another key area that Nenshi is hoping to see provincial money for is affordable housing.

The mayor said he expects the federal government will be making major commitments in its budget later this month, both for new buildings but also for fixing-up older units.

"It would be great to see if the province is going to follow through on that as well," said Nenshi.

At his last quarterly update, Alberta's finance minister Joe Ceci said he still expects the province will post a $10.8 billion deficit for the fiscal year that ends on March 31.

However, Ceci said there are starting to be signs of optimism that Alberta's economy will start turning around this year after shrinking for the past two.

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