When talks began for the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor, Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender pulled a loonie out of his pocket as the symbolic first contribution from the City of Langley. On Friday morning he made the final payment: A toonie.
“Please spend it wisely,” he said with a laugh as he presented the coin to Ed Fast, minister of international trade and minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, in recognition of the construction that’s underway along Production Boulevard and 54 Avenue on the Langley/Surrey border.
It is part of the combo project, a major portion of the $307 million Roberts Bank Rail Corridor program. It calls for the construction of three overpasses at 192 Street, 54 Avenue and 196 Street to replace level rail crossings. This will reduce the impact of longer and more frequent trains from Port Metro Vancouver terminals in Delta as trade with the Asia-Pacific increases in the future.
At a cost of $121.5 million for the combo project, $8.3 million is being contributed by the City of Langley and $5.5 from the Township. Other funding is coming from the City of Surrey, the province, the federal government and Port Metro Vancouver.
Ultimately, the project will connect Roberts Bank, Canada’s largest container facility and coal terminal, with the North American rail network, creating the Asia-Pacific Gateway for exports.
The Asia-Pacific countries represent huge markets, with economic growth rates two to three times the global average. The goal is to make Canada’s Asia-Pacific the best transportation network, Fast said.
“That’s where our future lies, accessing these booming economies of the Asia-Pacific that we have neglected for far too long,” he said.
“This infrastructure investment will allow us to get our products, our goods out to market in the Asia Pacific in a more efficient manner, and of course get goods into Canada in the same way.”
“Asia truly is our future,” said Langley MLA Mary Polak, the minister oftransportation and infrastructure
“Talk is cheap. It’s really easy to talk about trade with Asia and say that we want to trade with Asia,” she said. “If we’re not all together pushing on these projects, they don’t happen.”
“It’s happening. It’s happening here. It’s happening in Langley… trade with Asia impacts me.”