Surrey light rail price tag hits $1.65 billion

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond admitted that costs have risen 33 per cent since 2015

It will cost TransLink a total of $1.65 billion to roll out out the first phase of Surrey light rail by 2024, according to the agency’s executives.

TransLink unveiled the updated cost Monday as part of the $7.3 billion price tag for phase two of the Mayors’ Council overall 10-year-vision.

CEO Kevin Desmond said that costs for the Surrey-Newton-Guildford line have gone up by 33 per cent ($410 million) since 2015.

Desmond acknowledged that it was a “significant” increase from 2015 estimates presented to voters in the TransLink referendum, when the first phase of light rail was expected to cost $1.25 billion and the second phase was estimated at $890 million.

An extra $30 million is being set aside to begin pre-design work on the Surrey to Langley light rail line, although Desmond declined to provide a construction cost estimate.

The route map for both phases of Surrey and Langley light rail. (Submitted)

READ: Surrey mayor says light rail announcement for Surrey ‘final piece of puzzle’

The agency’s CEO cited increased property costs, construction delays and a weaker Canadian dollar for the cost overruns.

“These [new] estimates are the result of two years of very, very rigorous work – engineering, public consultations, peer reviews – to ensure that these costs at reasonable to take to the next phase of the program,” said Desmond, noting that costs will only continue to rise if delays continue.

“This region needs to hurry up and get on building these projects,” he said. “The longer we wait, the more it’s going to cost.”

Light rail has faced significant opposition in Surrey as TransLink has rolled out the project.

In response to Monday’s announcement, SkyTrain for Surrey founding director Daryl Dela Cruz called it the “worst value rapid transit investment in Canada.”

Cruz called for the “immediate cancellation” of light rail in Surrey and its removal from the Mayors’ Council 10-year-vision.

READ: SkyTrain for Surrey wants LRT pulled from Mayors’ Council plan

Procurement for the initial line will begin in 2018, with construction to start in 2020 and trains expected to run between Newton, Surrey Centre and Guildford by 2024, despite Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner telling Black Press Media that the line could be operational by 2021.

The trains will run in their own separate lane that will be unaffected by traffic, but still have to obey stop signs and traffic signals.

It will take nine minutes to get from Surrey Centre to Guildford and 13 to get from Newton to Surrey Centre.

The $7.3 billion plan will also include a Surrey B-Line to run between Newton and Surrey Centre along Scott Road and expansion of bus service out to 68 Avenue and eastern Fraser Heights in Surrey.

The public will have two weeks to weigh in. The public consultation that TransLink launched today on the $7.3-billion plan will be over by May 11, and both the Mayors’ Council and TransLink’s board are scheduled to approve the investment plan in June.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Surrey getting a new hospital, in Cloverdale

Premier John Horgan said the ‘brand new hospital’ will be built near Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Four ‘Nutcracker’ shows in Surrey on Royal City company’s 30th-year tour

This year’s cast features more than 70 dancers, including 18 from Surrey

White Rock pier-plank purchasers celebrated

Donors received a certificate Sunday marking their purchase of a pier plank

Pedestrian struck by vehicle in South Surrey

Incident happened at the 160 Street and 24 Avenue intersection

Seniors plead to Surrey council ahead of public hearing for 1,000-plus unit development

In June, seniors in the buildings said they felt ‘left in the cold’ as plans for redevelopment materialized

MAP: Christmas light displays in Surrey and beyond

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

Vancouver Giants fall to Spokane Chiefs

‘We are just having a tough time scoring right now’

Dance cancelled after Alberta teacher’s climate lesson prompts online threats

School district near Red Deer cancelled annual family dance due to Facebook comments

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

Don’t expect extra bus service during impending SkyTrain strike, CMBC says

Full SkyTrain shutdown is scheduled to start Tuesday morning

In surprise move, defence won’t call witnesses for accused in Abbotsford school killing

‘Change of instructions’ results in defence closing case without calling evidence

Operation Red Nose Surrey-Langley could close for rest of season due to lack of volunteers

Organizers say they are struggling to keep up with high call numbers and long wait times

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Most Read