Skytrain from Surrey to Langley moved closer to reality today as the government released the project’s business case and formally approved the provincial tranche of the project’s funding.
“With the release of the business plan and confirmation of provincial funding, we are now one step closer to bringing SkyTrain all the way to Langley,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Our business plan confirms this major project will be completed two years earlier than expected, helping to transform the way people live, work and play south of the Fraser.”
The current estimate for the extension to Langley will cost $3.94 billion. The provincial will pay $2.4 billion, the feds will kick in $1.3 billion, and the rest ($240 million) will be contributed at the local level. Another $70 million will be used for “active transportation investments” such as biking and walking infrastructure, which brings the total business-case cost to $4.01 billion.
“I am thrilled to see the business case has received formal approval,” said Surrey mayor Doug McCallum. “New rapid transit is long overdue in Surrey.”
Mike Starchuk, MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale, called the announcement a “milestone” along the way to completing the first new rapid transit project south of the Fraser in three decades. “By shaping growth instead of chasing it, we are ensuring Cloverdale and Surrey become even more connected with Metro Vancouver by providing sustainable low-cost transportation for people.”
According to a press release from the government, groundworks for the extension has already begun on things such as utility relocations and road widening. The release also noted the procurement process for construction will begin this summer.
Plans for the line indicate there will be eight new Skytrain stations along with three new major bus exchanges. Travel time from Langley to King George Station on the new line is estimated to be 22 minutes.
“Today’s announcement represents a significant step forward for this important project,” said John Aldag, Cloverdale-Langley City MP. “The Government of Canada committed to investing up to $1.3 billion in the Surrey Langley SkyTrain extension to improve transit access, create jobs and support transit-oriented development south of the Fraser.”
The new Skytrain development also offers new opportunities for both market and affordable housing, the release said.
“The Surrey Langley SkyTrain extension will connect more people to housing, employment, schools and services, and encourage higher-density mixed-use development around SkyTrain stations,” said Randeep Sarai, MP for Surrey Centre.
“Within 10 years, close to 62,000 commuters will benefit daily from this project, which will encourage more people to leave their car behind and use public transit,” Sarai added. “The Surrey-Langley SkyTrain will also help reduce congestion and travel time, cut emissions and help us tackle climate change.”
The release also said recent changes to the Transportation Act (Bill 16) will guide how both the new housing and new amenities along the Skytrain spine will be built.
“Bill 16 enables the Province to acquire land to build housing and community amenities that are integrated into transit stations or exchanges,” the release noted. “Supporting residential housing and employment growth along the Fraser Highway corridor will support transit ridership.”
The project will be built under a “community benefits agreement,” the release added. “(It’s) designed to provide opportunities for locals, Indigenous people, women and other underrepresented groups that are interested in starting or furthering careers in construction.”
Major construction is expected to begin in 2024, with the Surrey Langley SkyTrain in operation in late 2028.