Rendering of a planned Surrey light rail train. (City of Surrey)

New federal deal unlocks $2.2B in TransLink cash

Money will help pay for Ottawa’s share of projects like Surrey light rail, Millennium Line expansion

A $4.1-billion funding agreement between Ottawa and B.C. has unlocked the $2.2 billion in federal money that TransLink needs to complete the next phase of its 10-year vision to improve transit and transportation in Metro Vancouver.

The 10-year agreement was announced Monday by federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi and B.C. Transportation Minister Claire Trevena in Vancouver.

It comes from a pool of $33 billion already set aside by Ottawa for provincial funding agreements.

Ottawa had previously promised to cover 40 per cent of project costs for phase two of the vision, which includes the construction of Surrey light rail, upgrades to the Millennium and Expo SkyTrain lines and an additional 420,000 hours of bus service. B.C. had pledged to cover another 40 per cent, while TransLink and the region’s mayors would come up with 20 per cent.

Surrey light rail was originally scheduled to be up and running by 2024 but following the federal announcement, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner bumped up the operating date of the City Centre-Newton and Guildford lines to 2021 in a Tuesday morning message to Black Press Media.

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond called the announcement “another milestone on the path toward a fully funded phase two” of the 10-year-vision.

“Transit ridership in Metro Vancouver has never been higher and with over one million more people coming to the region over the next three decades, we need to be prepared,” Desmond said in a statement.

The plan had previously included a new Pattullo Bridge, but in February, the provincial government announced that it would solely fund the $1.4-billion new crossing.

The agreement finally being signed means a major step forward in the transportation plan. Last month, Metro Vancouver mayors announced they would fill their $70-billion gap with increases to parking, transit fares and property taxes.

The feds’ remaining $1.9 billion announced Monday will be split between BC Transit ($464 million), greenhouse gas emission-reducing infrastructure ($1.1 billion), projects to improve the quality of life in northern communities ($166 million), and culture and recreation projects ($157 million).

The funding will pay for up to 40 per cent of new builds and 50 per cent of repair and rehabilitation projects.

Rural and northern communities will get 50 per cent of all costs covered, while communities under 5,000 people will get 60 per cent.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Langley Fastball Association wins Association of the Year

Award at SoftballBC Awards Gala in Kamloops

Langley rollover crash slows traffic on 200 Street in Willoughby

Crews called to Monday afternoon collision involving two cars

VIDEO: Langley BMX racers propel pumpkins down their track

Once the standard race day was over, riders let a series of gourds roll down their Brookswood track.

Fort Langley wakes up to a flower bombing

A team from a village floral shop wanted to do a beautification project.

Abbotsford mom stuck in Africa over adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran have been waiting four weeks to bring son home

Federal carbon tax rebates will exceed the cost for most people affected

Officials say 70 per cent of people in those provinces will get back more than they end up paying out as fuel costs rise to incorporate the carbon tax.

New rules introduced to protect B.C. foreign workers from exploitation

More than 16,000 temporary permits issued last year

Vancouver Canucks’ Elias Pettersson ‘feeling good’ after concussion

Rookie is back practising after being sidelined by Florida defenceman Mike Matheson

Metro Vancouver parking fees could rise to help pay for transit

Province tables bill that would generate an extra $10 million each year

UPDATED: 34 rescued off whale watching boat in Georgia Strait

Tour company says vessel experienced some kind of mechanical issue

Pipeline opponents blast Trans Mountain re-approval plan

Environmental advocates, First Nations leaders say NEB review has same flaws as it had before

Opioid crisis may be shortening British Columbians’ life expectancy: report

Canada among healthiest wealthy countries, but 8,000 overdose deaths since 2016 are causing concern

B.C. cold case helps ‘60 Minutes’ explain genetic genealogy

An arrest in the 1987 double-murder of two people from Victoria was one of three examples highlighted in a segment you can watch here

Delivery of cannabis could be impacted by postal strike

BC Liquor Distribution Branch look at alternative third-party delivery services

Most Read