How City Council Can Fix the 2023-2026 Budget

Proposed budget is out of step with City policy and goals

On November 22, Calgary City Council will set the budget for the next four years and determine how over $4-billion per year in public funds will be spent. We know most Calgarians don’t have the time or energy to pour over hundreds of pages of budget documents. That’s why Project Calgary has done a deep dive on the proposed budget and released several report cards over the last week. 

Unfortunately, the report cards reveal just how shockingly out of step the proposed 2023-2026 budget is with the direction set by both past and present City Councils, and quite frankly, most Calgarians! 

Here’s a quick run through of the highlights and steps for how City Council can fix this mess.


Streets budget: “One more lane outta fix it!”

📋 Report Card: Active Modes / Streets | Proposed 2023-2026 Budget

The City’s proposed Streets budget reads more like a 1960’s traffic engineer’s wet dream than Calgary’s Transportation Plan or Climate Strategy. City Administration has proposed slashing already underfunded active modes infrastructure by a shocking 83% while simultaneously forking over major increases for auto-oriented sprawl infrastructure, including $24-million for Phase 1 of a 6-lane roadway expansion at 144 Avenue NW (past the ring road) to support future sprawl communities. 


Rather than responding to Calgary's Climate Strategy, the City of Calgary 2023-2026 Budget proposes redirecting $24-million in public funds from existing communities to build a new interchange and 6-lane roadway expansion at 144 Avenue NW (north of the ring road) to support future sprawl.

How to fix the Streets budget:

  • Axe  Phase 1 of the 144th Ave NW sprawl interchange and reinvest the $24-million back into existing communities
  • Commit to 100km of new active modes infrastructure over the next four years (for the price of a single interchange)


Public Transit budget: “Transit as a last choice”

📋 Report Card: Transit | Proposed 2023-2026 Budget


In the proposed 2023-2026 City Budget, City Administration has ignored the City’s Climate Plan and effectively set a freeze on transit funding. Transit fares are set to increase to $4 for adults or $26.60 return trip for a family of four. Meanwhile, there is no speedy plan to return transit frequency to pre-pandemic levels. 

How to fix the Public Transit budget:

  • Axe Phase 1 of the 144th Ave NW sprawl interchange and reinvest the $24-million back into existing communities
  • Freeze transit fares for the next 4 years
  • Set minimum transit frequency to 10 minutes on all LRT, BRT and major routes


Main Streets budget: “We’d rather be subsidizing sprawl”

📋 Report Card: Main Streets and Downtown Revitalization | Proposed 2023-2026 Budget


While it took the 2017 downturn and subsequent tax revenue drop to finally compel the City to reinvest in Downtown, at least the City is finally funding revitalization Downtown. Unfortunately, the proposed budget turns its back on most of the 10 approved Main Streets revitalization projects. At the rate proposed, it will take over 30 years to ever fund these.

How to fix the Main Streets budget:

  • Axe Phase 1 of the 144th Ave NW sprawl interchange and reinvest the $24-million back into existing communities
  • Accelerate revitalization of approved Main Streets projects to a rate of at least one per year


Police Services and Community Well-being budget: “The most expensive way to ignore root causes of crime and public safety”

📋 Report Card: Police & Community Well-Being | Proposed 2023-2026 Budget

Even though the Calgary Police continue to fail to demonstrate the ability to hold themselves accountable to Calgarians👀, the City budget proposes rewarding them with a cumulative $105-million operating budget increase over the four year cycle. Calgarians will recall that the Calgary Police:

  • were the only public servants in the City that refused to impose vaccine mandate on their members to protect Calgarians during the mandate;
  • were reluctant to enforce bylaws and support Beltline residents and businesses during the weekly hate marches earlier this year;
  • failed to properly investigate former member Sean Chu.

Fast Facts:

  • Calgary’s crime severity index has declined across the board since 2019
  • Calgary has the lowest crime rate of all major cities in Western Canada
  • Calgary Police Service already receives more funding per capita than Edmonton Police Service

Shockingly, in sharp contrast to the Police budget, and at a time when more Calgarians than ever are experiencing homelessess, mental health and addictions struggles, City Administration has proposed net cuts to Social Programs and Services (Community Strategies, Social Programs, Affordable Housing, Neighbourhood Support). 


How to fix the Police Services and Community Well-being budget budget:


TAKE ACTION: We need your help to tell City Council to fix the 4-year budget!


💬 1) Speak at the City Council public budget hearings

Sign up to speak at the City Council budget public hearings on Tuesday, November 22nd. Language translation services are available if needed.



📨 2) Sign up for Project Calgary email updates on the 2023-2026 City budget

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