Province promises $2.2 billion toward Metro Vancouver transit plan

Click to play video: 'Provincial government ponies up more money for transit'
Provincial government ponies up more money for transit
WATCH: In what some are calling a pre-election flip-flop, the Liberal government is now promising to match federal funding for Metro Vancouver’s 10-year transit plan. Ted Chernecki tells us what that means for the overall funding picture – Mar 31, 2017

The B.C. government will contribute billions of dollars toward Metro Vancouver transit, helping to make major projects like the Millennium Line Broadway extension and light rail lines in Surrey a reality.

The province announced funding of $2.2 billion, matching the $2.2. billion promised by the federal government in the 2017 budget, on Friday.

That money will cover 80 per cent of the funds needed to finance the 10-year Metro Vancouver transportation plan.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver transit and transportation gets $2.2 billion from federal government

The remaining 20 per cent will have to be funded by the 21 municipal governments in Metro Vancouver.

Phase two of the transportation plan includes the replacement of the Pattullo Bridge, creating light rail transit in Surrey, extending the Millennium Line along the Broadway corridor to Arbutus Street and adding more rail cars and upgrading stations along the existing SkyTrain system.

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It would also expand bus and HandyDART service and fund improvements to roads, cycling and walking paths.

The TransLink Mayor’s Council publicly called on the provincial government to match the federal government’s investment in Metro Vancouver transit after it was announced in the budget speech on March 22.

“With a provincial election less than two months away, the Mayors’ Council is calling on all provincial political parties to commit, as a first step, to match the federal funding dollar for dollar for construction of the Broadway and Surrey rapid transit projects, and to work with the Mayors’ Council to confirm other provincial and regional funding required to fully implement the 10-Year Vision,” the mayors said in a news release.

The B.C. government pledged $246 million toward Metro Vancouver public transit back in May 2016, providing 33 per cent of the necessary funding for the first phase of the project. The federal Liberal government also committed to spending $370 million on transit projects last year.

In September 2016, NDP leader John Horgan promised, if elected, his government would commit to providing 40 per cent of funding for transit and major infrastructure projects, leaving Metro Vancouver with a 20 per cent funding responsibility.

Surrey LRT

A rendering of future plans for a light rail transit (LRT) system in Surrey. City of Surrey

The City of Surrey and TransLink want to build a light rail transit (LRT) system featuring two lines and approximately 19 stops throughout the city.

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The first phase of the project would be the Surrey-Newton-Guildford Line from 104 Avenue to King George Boulevard. The second phase would be the Surrey-Langley Line along the Fraser Highway connecting Surrey to the Township of Langley and City of Langley.

Surrey’s LRT proposal is estimated to cost up to $2.6 billion.

A map of the proposed LRT system in Surrey. City of Surrey

Pattullo Bridge replacement

A new four-lane Pattullo Bridge will replace the existing 80-year-old bridge by 2023, according to TransLink. The design will allow for a possible future expansion to six lanes.

The new bridge is expected to be tolled to stay in line with the Port Mann Bridge.

READ MORE: Latest numbers show Port Mann lost $82.5M last fiscal year

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Millennium Line Broadway expansion

The 10-year transportation plan also calls for an expansion of the Millennium Line along the Broadway corridor, ending at Arbutus Street.

The extension would run through tunnels from VCC-Clark Station to a new station at Arbutus Street.

TransLink says construction of the line would take about five to six years and begin as early as 2019.

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