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 councillor calls proposed policing transition plan ‘shocking’

Councillor Linda Annis says taxpayers deserve to see the report they paid for

Surrey Veterans Village groundbreaking ‘monumental’

$312-million project to house Canada’s first ‘centre of excellence’ for PTSD and mental health

Surrey policing plan sent to provincial government for review

‘I urge our residents to come out and help us shape their Surrey Police Department,’ Surrey mayor says

Bald eagle event planned for South Surrey

Participants will search for eagles in Kwomais Point Park

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Mother bear, three cubs relocated from Maple Ridge

Silver Valley residents calling for ‘no-kill’ zone.

VIDEO: TransLink to roll out battery-powered bus pilot this summer

Four buses will run a 2.5 year pilot along Marine Drive

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Man in B.C. charged with murder and arson in 2016 New Brunswick death

He is charged in the death of 71-year-old Lucille Maltais, who was found inside a burned down home

North Delta happenings: week of May 23

Events and community listings for North Delta

Public warned after man exposes himself to girl, 13, in North Vancouver

RCMP say incident may be linked to others that happened last year

Improve your life and theirs, adopt a cat from the BC SPCA

The BC SPCA holds an adult cat adoption promotion

Most Read