Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance From left

Rail depends on fed budget

Local politicians talked about transit and borders.

Roads, rail, and border crossings were top of mind for four Langley politicians answering questions from local businesspeople Tuesday night.

The Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce hosted Langley City Mayor Ted Schaffer, Township Mayor Jack Froese, Langley-Aldergrove MP Mark Warawa, and Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag at a dinner meeting.

Questions posed by the audience were lobbed at the four politicians, and the question of a light rail link from Surrey’s SkyTrain terminal to Langley City came up several times.

Schaffer revealed he isn’t a fan of at-grade light rail.

“Having my druthers, I would go with SkyTrain,” he said, adding that he hoped the line could, in the long term, be extended as far as the Abbotsford Airport.

However, it all comes down to costs, he said.

“It really hinges on the budget from the federal government,” said Froese.

The federal Liberals promised extensive funding for transit infrastructure during last fall’s campaign, and Aldag said he’s told they intend to keep that commitment – though he has not seen the final budget.

The federal budget will be presented on March 22.

Warawa talked about the Aldergrove border crossing expansion, which he and the chamber had lobbied for. It is now fully functional, but Warawa announced this week that he will push for an expansion of hours.

“We need to see that border crossing go 24/7,” Warawa said.

Froese fielded a question about the planned creation of a 216th Street highway interchange, which he said will include some rezonings for industrial businesses in the nearby Williams neighbourhood.

“We’re excited to get some more [industrial] lands,” Froese said.

Both mayors talked about the need for more buses, including from the Carvolth park and ride.

Schaffer also talked about the City’s multi-million dollar plans to upgrade 203rd Street, with some of the funds coming from the federal government, Bike BC, and possibly from TransLink.

 

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