Business case approved for Surrey-Langley SkyTrain, but questions remain about funding

An artist's conception of what a future Surrey-Langley SkyTrain station could look like. TransLink

Metro Vancouver’s Mayors’ Council has approved the business case for extending SkyTrain’s Expo Line, but there is still not enough funding to cover the distance to Langley.

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum ran on a promise to switch from an approved LRT line to an extension of the SkyTrain line.

“I am proud of what has been achieved in a little more than one year’s time,” McCallum said.

Click to play video: 'New details on Surrey-to-Langley SkyTrain extension'
New details on Surrey-to-Langley SkyTrain extension

“The switch in technology from light rail to SkyTrain is no easy feat, but this is undoubtedly the right thing to do not only for Surrey, but for the region as a whole. Since its introduction for Expo 86, SkyTrain has been a swift, reliable and accessible platform to move people in the Lower Mainland. I want to thank my colleagues on the Mayors’ Council for their support and for their recognition that rapid transit expansion south of the Fraser is long overdue.”

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Final approval of the project is expected by summer. The line is expected to be up and running by 2025 with construction starting next year.

But the SkyTrain will only go from King George station to Fleetwood near 166 Street with three stops in between. The region, province and federal government has allocated $1.63 billion for the first phase of the extension.

It will require another $1.5 billion to extend the line an additional nine kilometres to Langley.

Click to play video: 'Surrey SkyTrain extension approved to move ahead'
Surrey SkyTrain extension approved to move ahead

Pitt Meadows Mayor Bill Dingwall raised concerns about the region having to raise 20 per cent of the cost for the extension to Langley after already finding the money for the first phase.

“Finding that 20 per cent continues to be a challenge for all of us,” he said.

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The mayors have not yet formally asked the province to fund the line to Langley. Traditionally, the province has covered 40 per cent of the costs for such projects, with Ottawa providing another 40 per cent, and the region picking up the remaining 20 per cent.

“We have put 40 per cent support to the mayors’ Phase 2 and we are waiting to see what comes up for the next phase of the vision,” Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said.

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