Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said the B.C. budget revealed on Tuesday is “people focused.”
“I’m particularly interested in the kind of housing improvements that they expect to have in the region – and the child care,” Hepner told the Now-Leader. “I think it’s a very people-focused budget without losing sight of the fact that business is a big player in the region and has to be successful.”
Surrey Councillor Vera LeFranc tweeted that there is “a lot to be excited about” in the budget, referencing housing, child care, additional supports for youth aging out of care, schools, Indigenous languages and reconciliation.
“We’re getting to work so that Surrey is ready to take advantage of the investments,” LeFranc added.
But what about Surrey LRT?
While the NDP government’s first budget didn’t have specific mention of the city’s planned light rail project, Hepner said “the $1.2 billion (committed) over the next three years for the mayors’ transportation plan is a good sign that they’ll be ready to spend that money.”
“Hopefully we get that agreement in place,” she added.
At a meeting last month, the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation voted to reaffirm its intention to forge ahead with its full vision for the region, which includes 27 kilometres of light rail transit in Surrey and a replacement of the Pattullo Bridge.
The approved motion, brought forward by Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore, resolved that the council “calls on the Province of B.C. to confirm as soon as possible its partnership in delivering the Phase Two Plan as scheduled, including provincial contribution of a 40 per cent share of capital costs of all projects in the vision.”
The Surrey Board of Trade also called for a firm LRT commitment after noticing its absence from the B.C. budget.
“What we need for Surrey is certainty,” said SBOT CEO Anita Huberman in a release. “We have businesses, who overwhelmingly support Surrey’s LRT, waiting to move forward on their plans in conjunction with the development of transit.”
Huberman referenced a recent SBOT Surrey Road Survey result where 86 per cent of respondents supported both phases of LRT.
“We have been kept waiting too long. It’s time,” she stated.
The Surrey Board of Trade says it is pleased to see that the government is moving ahead with the Pattullo Bridge replacement, but was concerned by the lack of numbers for the Massey Tunnel.