THE Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation has approved the business case for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain project. With this approval, TransLink is now able to seek senior government approval.
The report highlighted the overall benefit to the City of Surrey arising from Phase One of the project, which will connect the King George SkyTrain Station to the Fleetwood area along the Fraser Highway. The report also mentioned the critical need to secure Phase Two funding for the region to receive maximum and time sensitive benefit from the project.
“We are finally starting to see a move towards a significant transportation investment in Surrey with the Surrey-Langley-SkyTrain (SLS), the Rapid Bus route along King George and improved B-Line bus service along 104 Avenue; however, the funding available from the federal and provincial governments will only enable a SLS to Fleetwood,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.
“These approved projects are not nearly adequate enough to connect the large geographic region of Surrey and ultimately the South Fraser Economic Region, including Abbotsford and Chilliwack.
“Further, there is a significant gap in this funding (and still waits for approval by the provincial and federal governments), leaving out the majority of Surrey’s large geographic area and South Fraser Economic Region.”
In the recent Transport 2050 Public Engagement survey, the majority of the 31,000 submissions wanted more transit and transportation options in Surrey and throughout the Fraser Valley – that is for the South Fraser Economic Region.
“The Surrey Board of Trade is asking the Provincial Government to immediately create and fund a South Fraser Inter-Regional Economic Transportation Task Force to investigate and recommend the best possible transportation options within a one-year time frame,” said Huberman.
There is a transit and transportation crisis. 1.3 million people are moving into Metro Vancouver. Much of that population will be in Surrey and the South Fraser Economic Region. The need for a Regional Transportation Plan, with sustainable funding from all levels of government, for Surrey and the South Fraser Economic Region must be given immediate high priority and associated funding.
“While the Surrey to Fleetwood SkyTrain will eventually be built, we must look at all transit options, not just buses, to connect the rest of Surrey. Other options as part of the South Fraser Transportation Plan could include the interurban line, a rapid transit link to Abbotsford, Highway 1 widening, other technologies, and private/public sector investment options,” said Huberman.
“The Surrey Board of Trade will be looking to South Fraser Chambers of Commerce, government and other stakeholders to support this initiative to ensure we speak as a powerful and collective voice for action to the provincial and federal government.
“Transportation infrastructure and education are the backbone of any economy – that is the Surrey Board of Trade’s strategic philosophy. Without a long-term vision to consider all options and eventually a plan that we can all agree on, one immune to future election cycles, the movement of people and goods and development of future economic prosperity will remain severely impeded.”
Business Case Summary: SkyTrain from King George Station to Langley City Centre Highlights
· Length: 16 km
· Stations: 8
· New vehicles: 55
· 62,000 average weekday boards by 2035
· Benefit-Cost Ratio: 1.24 (Comparable to Canada Line and Evergreen Extension)
· Operating and maintenance cost: $32.4 million annually
· Estimated fare revenue by 2035: $21.3 million annually
· Travel time from Langley Centre to King George (22 minutes)
· Transit users will save nearly 900,000 hours of travel time annually by 2035
· Capacity for 6,800 customers per hour in each direction – over 10 times the capacity of bus service today
· 80,000 people would be living within 800 metres of new stations
· Langley City Centre would connect to 380,000 jobs and 23,000 post-secondary education spaces by 2035
· It is estimated the project will enhance economic productivity by $255 million over its life
· Project construction will result in 3,000 direct jobs annually.
· Annual greenhouse gas reductions of 17,000 tonnes
· Active transportation trips increase of 25 million by 2035
· SkyTrain will replace nearly 20,000 car trips by 2035
Read the full SLS Project Business Case Summary here