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I don't care if I see Calgary before this tunnel is finished. I got to see New York City.

The federal government says it will not help fund a tunnel under a new Calgary airport runway.

The City of Calgary and the Calgary Airport Authority announced in December they would cover $90 million of the tunnel's $287-million cost.

The city was counting on the provincial and federal governments to pony up the remainder of the funding.

Those living in the area say the tunnel is necessary because a new 4,270-metre long runway will lead to the closure of Barlow Trail between 48th Avenue and Airport Road N.E.

The proposed tunnel would create an east-west artery across Calgary's northeast.

Mayor Dave Bronconnier and Ald. Jim Stevenson met with officials in Ottawa this week, but their request for nearly $100 million in funding was denied.

Grant Galpin, who speaks for the Airport Trail Access Committee, said the tunnel is crucial for the survival of local businesses and hotels.

"We're talking to a government that dropped $10 billion to one industry in Ontario, the auto industry, when they were in distress," he said.

"We're talking about a number of industries, including tourism and others, that could be deeply impacted by this decision to shut down Barlow Trail. So we're a bit surprised by the level of lack of depth of conversation, let's put it that way."

Galpin said the group will continue to call on Ottawa for help.

"We need to because this is part of the reality for the entire city here," he said.

"The hotels in the area need it for their business to be viable. The 18,000-plus people who work at the airport need [the tunnel] to be able to get there and, frankly, we all need it to be able to get an LRT link in our lifetime to the airport."

Galpin said he plans to ask for a meeting with federal officials next week.

He said representatives from the business community, as well as the hotel and tourism industry, all hope to be involved in the meeting.

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