Reactions to funding for Light Rail Transit in Surrey

Photo: SBOT

SURREY Board of Trade’s CEO Anita Huberman said: “Surrey will be the largest city in British Columbia. Surrey and the South Fraser Region has been severely underserved in transportation investments. These monies are committed to LRT and can’t be transferred to SkyTrain infrastructure. The Surrey Board of Trade Policy, through its Transportation Team, is that LRT is the only way to alleviate traffic and congestion, reduce carbon emissions, harness economic and cultural development activity, improving access to communities and businesses.

“The Surrey Board of Trade’s goal is to ensure all 27 kilometres to Langley City are built. The City of Surrey’s recent light rail infrastructure plan to connect all of Surrey through LRT, beyond the 27 kilometres, will also enhance economic development activity.

“In Surrey, LRT will boost economic activity. The Surrey Board of Trade has always lobbied for greater interconnection within the city, and the funding committed, with cheques on the way as announced [Wednesday] by both the Prime Minister and the Premier, was needed to get shovels in the ground. Improved transportation will allow residents to get around in the city on ground level, benefiting elderly individuals that cannot traverse stairs to platforms like the ones on SkyTrain stations.”

 

SURREY Councillor, and mayoral candidate for Surrey First, Tom Gill, applauded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan for [Wednesday’s] announcement detailing funding support of the Surrey-Newton-Guildford Light Rail Transit (LRT) project. Gill said the support of the provincial and federal governments was key to ensuring the 10 km project moved forward, and he wants to use this momentum to get 150 km of LRT over the next 25 years.

“LRT is going to change how we get around our city, and it’s going to connect our neighbourhoods like never before,” said Gill. “So, it’s not too early to start planning the next phases of LRT across Surrey, and I’m committed to 150 km over the next 25 years. It took about 30 years to build a total of 99 km of SkyTrain across the entire region, and I want us to get moving on more transit for Surrey right away. [Wednesday’s] announcement shows what can be done when you work in partnership, and with funding secured for this portion of the system, it’s time to keep moving LRT forward into more and more of our growing neighbourhoods.”

 

PEOPLE First Surrey’s mayoral candidate Rajesh Jayaprakash said in a statement: “People First Surrey always maintained the position that we support SkyTrain in Surrey, but we will put LRT vs SkyTrain vs other rapid transit options in Surrey for a vote of people of Surrey. This is the only way to counter the forces supporting LRT and to move funds for SkyTrain. It will be hard for Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Horgan to overrule a vote of Surrey public. It will not be easy or quick, but it is attainable.

“[Wednesday’s] announcement by Prime Minster Trudeau and Premier Horgan shows the importance of this well thought out strategy. A mere cancellation won’t cut it. It is not easy to do, but definitely doable. People First Surrey has the most well thought out plan to cancel LRT and bring SkyTrain instead.

“This rapid transit is going to the permanent, defining infrastructure for Surrey. It is going to be here for next 100 years or so. Our kids and grand kids are going to inherit it and going to live with it. The delays and loss of some money due to a switch to SkyTrain is a small price to pay to avoid the congestion, accidents and the loss life for a century. It is more important than egos of few politicians and bureaucrats. We cannot give up now.

“This is the reason People First Surrey stands with SkyTrain but letting people decide it. It helps to clearly demonstrate to other governmental entities that SkyTrain is the choice of the public. We have stated this position from May 2018 onwards. We discussed this in our transit open house and panel discussion.”