NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) – A Surrey to Langley SkyTrain would cost significantly more than funding available, TransLink says.
Updated numbers from TransLink show the project would cost $3.12-billion, when there is only $1.6-billion available.
Given that figure, the transit authority has proposed options that could potentially fit the budget.
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum campaigned on a promise to scrap light rail transit for a new SkyTrain line to Langley. Since taking office, he has pushed hard for the rapid transit alternative.
TransLink’s Mayors’ Council voted to suspect plans for the Surrey LRT project in November of last year, despite $50-million already having been spent on planning, and $20-million on pre-construction work.
Given the current $1.6 billion available @TransLink has laid out a couple of options that might better fit the budget instead of the initial King George to Langley plan. @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/WHLF0MTjkO
— Taran Parmar (@Tarankparmar) July 19, 2019
$1.6-billion would see a SkyTrain line reach Fleetwood but not all the way from King George SkyTrain station to Langley.
TransLink says these funds had already been allocated to the Light Rail Transit project, which would have seen a Surrey-Newton-Guildford line.
“Any work beyond this amount is unfunded and would require contributions from other sources,” TransLink says.
A trip between Langley and King George Station would take about 22 minutes, and would include eight different stops.
Mayors’ Council pursuing feds, province for funding
Jonathan Cote, chair of the TransLink Mayors’ council, says today’s announcement doesn’t mean the long-term plan has changed.
“That connection, connecting all the way to Langley has always been a part of the Mayors’ 10-year plan. But ultimately we need to be able to find the funding before we can be out in the public and say construction can start on that kind of project,” he says.
Cote explains they are pursuing funding partnerships with the federal and provincial governments so they can extend the line to Langley in a “second phase.”
“Once those partnerships have been established that will make that portion of the project viable.
Cost estimates of a Surrey to Langley SkyTrain line.
Proponents of LRT disappointed, again
The Surrey Board of Trade were vocal proponents of the LRT, which would have connected neighbourhoods within Surrey itself.
Today’s announcement means Surrey will have to wait even longer for “minimal” improvements to rapid transit, says board CEO Anita Huberman in a release.
“Transportation investments have been delayed yet again in Surrey,” she adds.
“We had an unprecedented approved transit plan – and today’s announcement denotes that the SkyTrain line will only go to 166 Street within the approved funding envelope by an estimated 2025 construction completion, leaving minimal rapid transit improvements to the 104 Corridor and to Newton – and even to the rest of Surrey.”