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Surrey mayor still hopeful LRT deal will be reached by the end of the month

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

Surrey mayor Linda Hepner has high hopes a deal will be finally reached in the coming weeks for the light rail transit project.

Hepner said she is optimistic the federal and provincial governments will soon strike a funding agreement for the construction of Surrey’s proposed  Light Rail Transit (LRT) system.

“I am confident that hopefully by the end of this month we will have something concrete to say to everyone that we finally closed that gap,” Hepner said.

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

The LRT is expected to span 27 kilometres and be constructed in two phases. The first phase is a Surrey-Newton-Guilford LRT that will be linked to current Expo Line stations, and the second phase will connect the King George Station to 56 Avenue and 203 Street in Langley.

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In early 2016, the City of Surrey altered the cost of the project from $2.14 billion to $2.6 billion.

Even though the mayor says she expected a bilateral agreement between the federal and provincial governments to be reached by December 2017, she said she’s not worried the project has gone off the rails.

WATCH: Surrey Mayor pledges new light rail system 

“I think that we’re so close now and the gap is so small compared to where we started,” Hepner said.

The federal government has committed up to 40 per cent funding for the project, while the province has indicated it will match that same amount of support.

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

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Other than the Pattullo Bridge replacement project, Surrey transit was not mentioned in the 2018 provincial budget released on Feb. 20, but Hepner said she was not alarmed.

“I had already known the commitment by the province was there,” Hepner said. “I wasn’t surprised that it didn’t appear in their speeches.”

-With files from Jason Gilder 

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