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Where’s Surrey LRT? Construction industry asks after B.C. budget release

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

The B.C. government announced $6 million for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure over a three-year-period in their 2018 budget.

“Along with funding added in recent years, this new allocation will help support a 2018/2019 service expansion by BC Transit of over 40,000 additional hours in more than 20 communities for both conventional and custom transit,” read the budget from the government.

Where’s Surrey LRT? Construction industry asks after B.C. budget release - image
B.C. government

Some of the examples mentioned as key capital investments were the replacement of the Pattullo Bridge, four-laning the final 4.8 km of Highway 1 through the Kicking Horse Canyon, replacing the Parsnip River Bridge, and construction of a new transit facility in Abbotsford.

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READ MORE: With Pattullo Bridge replacement resolved, focus turns to Broadway subway, Surrey LRT

But not on the list? Surrey’s Light Rail Transit (LRT).

“The only mention is in point 30 of their 30-point housing plan, they mention they want to build more density around transit nodes and they want to work with the mayors on their transit plan but no substantial money put into that,” said Jordan Bateman with the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA).

WATCH: Surrey mayor urges quick action on LRT

Click to play video: 'Surrey mayor urges quick action on LRT' Surrey mayor urges quick action on LRT
Surrey mayor urges quick action on LRT – Sep 18, 2017

He said the ICBA was surprised there was no specific mention of the LRT nor the amount of money going towards the project.

“If Justin Trudeau arrives tomorrow with a big cheque for his share of these projects, the BC Government will have to borrow the money to match it,” he said.

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The ICBA weren’t the only ones to see Surrey’s LRT left out. The Surrey Board of Trade said they are “concerned” the project wasn’t in the budget.

“I was very surprised that Surrey LRT is not mentioned in this budget,” said CEO Anita Huberman.

READ MORE: Province promises $2.2 billion toward Metro Vancouver transit plan

But she said she’s still hopeful. “I know in our conversations with this government, they are committed to the mayor’s vision for our rapid transit needs in Surrey and that includes light rail.”

The LRT line is supposed to span 27 kilometres and will be carried out in two phases. Phase 1 is a Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT, which will connect to the existing Expo Line stations. Phase 2 is the Surrey Langley Line which will connect to King George Station and extend to 56 Avenue and 203 Street in Langley.

Where’s Surrey LRT? Construction industry asks after B.C. budget release - image
TransLink

In March, the province announced funding of $2.2 billion, matching the $2.2 billion promised by the federal government in the 2017 budget.

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Bateman said they were also upset to see that neither the George Massey Tunnel replacement project, nor the Broadway subway were mentioned.

— With files from Paula Baker

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