While news that the federal government will give $1.3 billion to expand SkyTrain to Langley is good news for Surrey, it’s just a small step forward after being “starved of infrastructure investment for years,” the Surrey Board of Trade says.
“Although this funding is welcomed, we still need greater investment from all levels of government to connect Surrey together,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade in a release sent after Friday’s funding announcement at Surrey’s city hall.
“Surrey is going to be the largest city in British Columbia by 2030, and we need to build for that eventuality. That means greater transit services to move throughout the city, in areas such as our industrial business parks, a more walkable and cyclable city centre, safer streets, and urban design that plans for future growth.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Surrey to make the announcement Friday morning. (Click here for more on Friday’s announcement.)
Extending the SkyTrain would require a total estimated cost of about $3.1 billion. During last October’s election campaign, B.C. Premier John Horgan pledged that the provincial government would fully fund its share of the $1.5 billion portion of the costs of extending the line to Langley.
Huberman said she hopes all levels of government will ensure the project is fully funded and that shovels will be in the ground “as quickly as possible,” something Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said should be no problem.
“This project is shovel ready,” McCallum said Friday outside Surrey’s city hall. “So much so that we expect early works to start this Tuesday morning.”
On Thursday (July 8), federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole announced if he wins an expected fall federal election, his party would also fund the SkyTrain line.
“British Columbians have been fighting for this SkyTrain expansion and ignored by the Liberals,” said O’Toole. “Justin Trudeau has failed to deliver for British Columbians for two years.”
– With files from Matthew Claxton