PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced up to $1.3 billion in federal funding toward the Surrey Langley SkyTrain extension project. The Province of British Columbia and its partners will fund the remainder of the costs for the project.
The Surrey Langley SkyTrain extension project will support an area with a fast-growing population representing 25 per cent of the population of Metro Vancouver, help improve public transit accessibility for residents and businesses south of the Fraser River, connect more people to housing, employment, and schools, and encourage greater development around SkyTrain stations. The project will also create approximately 3,000 full-time, well-paying middle class jobs.
The Surrey Langley extension will connect growing Surrey neighbourhoods, the Township of Langley, and the City of Langley to Surrey Centre and the regional SkyTrain network. The project includes 16 kilometres on an elevated guideway from King George SkyTrain Station to Langley City Centre along Fraser Highway. It also includes eight stations, three bus exchanges, park and ride spaces, 30 SkyTrain cars, an operations and maintenance centre, and supporting system upgrades. This new transit route will provide residents with an average commute time of 22 minutes, which is more than 25 minutes faster than the current bus route. The proposed extension is projected to serve 62,000 daily riders in 2035 and grow to 71,200 riders in 2050. Approximately 24,000 to 30,000 of these riders are expected to switch to transit from other modes of transportation.
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum, whose Surrey Safe Coalition had made this SkyTrain extension and a municipal police force the main part of their election manifesto, said: “Today is a tremendous day for Surrey. As one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, the new Surrey Langley SkyTrain has a built-in ridership. Fast and reliable rapid transit translates into fewer cars on the road. The Metro Region will benefit as Surrey Langley SkyTrain expands and connects the SkyTrain network into more communities. This major public transit infrastructure project will immediately create a large number of solid, well-paying middle class jobs and that’s good for our economy. I would like to thank the Government of Canada and the Government of B.C. for their support for this much-needed project. Surrey’s turn for new rapid transit has arrived.”
The Government of Canada is contributing 40 per cent of eligible costs toward the Surrey Langley SkyTrain extension project, up to $1.3 billion. The Government of British Columbia and other partners are funding the remaining project costs of up to $2.54 billion.
The Government of British Columbia has committed to taking over the ownership and delivery of Surrey Langley SkyTrain extension project and completing the project out to Langley. Once the new line is built, TransLink will operate the extension as part of the integrated SkyTrain network.
Val van den Broek, Mayor of the City of Langley, said: “It has been 30 years since the last fixed rapid transit investment in the south of the Fraser communities of Metro Vancouver. With the announcement of the Surrey Langley SkyTrain project, Langley City will not only be a designated Regional City Centre but a regional hub and a true transit-oriented downtown. The City of Langley is looking forward to working with the federal and provincial governments, as well as TransLink, to construct this critical regional priority project. On behalf of Langley City Council, we would like to acknowledge and thank them for their hard work and commitment.”
Premier John Horgan said: “Whether people are commuting to work, going to school, or safely coming back together with family and friends, it’s critical that we provide the better, faster transit options that British Columbians deserve. We’re pleased to be making record investments in infrastructure, creating thousands of jobs, and this partnership with the federal government will help keep people moving while we build a strong recovery that benefits everyone.”
Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said: “Investment in our infrastructure has never been more important as we work together to recover from COVID-19. The populations of Surrey, Langley, and other Fraser Valley communities are growing quickly, and we must build infrastructure to meet the needs of those families. We thank the Government of Canada for joining the Province on our commitment to Surrey Langley SkyTrain and we are excited to move forward on this important transportation project which will serve people for years to come.”
TRUDEAU’S announcement comes as a loud and clear slap in the faces of former mayors Bob Bose, Dianne Watts and Linda Hepner who lacked McCallum’s vision.
A part of the mainstream media and some petty politicians have kept attacking McCallum at every opportunity as the mayor has endeavoured to fulfill his election promises of building the Surrey Langley Skytrain extension and replacing the RCMP with a municipal police force. Normally, you would expect the media to praise someone who actually tries to fulfill his election promises.
Safe Surrey Coalition councillors Doug Elford, Allison Patton, Laurie Guerra and Mandeep Nagra have stuck with McCallum to help fulfill those election promises.
The screaming majority has been desperately trying to suppress and bully the silent majority. That is the silent majority that voted McCallum and his Safe Surrey Coalition into power with seven out of eight councillors – the lone Surrey First councillor won only by going against her own party’s agenda during the election campaign.
That is the silent majority that again showed its support for McCallum after three councillors deserted him and the opposition made the replacement of the RCMP with a municipal police force a major issue during the provincial election last year. That majority not only re-elected all the incumbent NDP MLAs but also kicked out a BC Liberal MLA by electing an NDP MLA in his place.
McCallum’s foes have been humiliated again and again.
Now they have come up with a joke of a province-wide referendum about keeping the RCMP in Surrey but admitting in advance that they will not win. However, they hope that they will get a substantial number of votes in Surrey to further their propaganda. They have no respect for taxpayers’ money. The provincial government has already made it clear that they support the new Surrey Police Service and there is no question of holding a referendum.
TRUDEAU also announced that the Government of Canada is committed to funding up to 40 per cent of eligible costs toward future planning and business case development for a proposed extension of the Millennium Line from Arbutus Station to the University of British Columbia (UBC). This project will better connect students, employees, and residents who travel between UBC and other parts of Metro Vancouver with a high speed and frequent SkyTrain service, reducing travel time between Commercial-Broadway and UBC for riders by more than 20 minutes per trip. As one of the largest employers in the region with world-class health services and an emerging innovation and research hub, UBC will require fast, frequent transit service to meet the needs of students, faculty, and staff who travel there each day from across the region.
The federal government said that reliable, modern public transit is the foundation of strong communities where Canadians live, work, and play. It creates jobs, cuts pollution, and builds a strong middle class. Since 2015, the Government of Canada has invested over $4.3 billion in more than 550 infrastructure projects across British Columbia under the Investing in Canada Plan.
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said: “Today’s news that both the Government of Canada and British Columbia will fund the business case study for the UBCx project is another important step forward for this critical project.
“I’m grateful to Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier Horgan, Federal Minister of Infrastructure Catherine McKenna, B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming, and B.C.’s Minister of Environment George Heyman for their commitment to seeing us move forward with the next phase of the Millennium Line extension to UBC.
“I think we can all agree that connecting UBC to the rest of Metro Vancouver, all the way to Langley thanks to the new SLS line, is an important project for our entire region – indeed it’s important for the entire province. That’s because the Broadway Corridor, including UBC as its Western anchor, is B.C.’s second largest employment centre, accounting for more than 85,000 jobs and an astounding $14 billion in annual gross domestic product.
“High quality, fast, and reliable transit will help us rebuild from COVID-19, unlock thousands of affordable housing units, and reduce commute times and greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a win on so many levels and I can’t wait to see the UBC project continue to move forward.”