Surrey is getting serious:
Surrey business and community groups are launching a new campaign to get light-rail transit on track for south of the Fraser. The Surrey Board of Trade announced a new coalition — Light Rail Links — which is joining the call for an LRT solution to the region’s lack of rapid transit infrastructure.
Here’s my forecast: Given post-election dynamics in which Surrey mayor Dianne Watts has considerable political capital and leverage, there will be a full-scale push to get a regional, provincial and federal commitment to move quickly on light-rail for Surrey – especially if there is a possible financing package that doesn’t require a new regional tax.
Vancouver will still be years away from getting the consensus needed to push an expensive subway through the west side. (At best, it might argue that a link is needed to close the gap between the Millennium and Canada Lines – maybe all the way to Arbutus.) But where’s the money? And where’s the regional backing?
TransLink will be preoccupied with a new governance arrangement. The Massey Tunnel will likely be downgraded as an immediate priority. But there will need to be some offering to South of Fraser if tolls stay on the Port Mann and planning for a new Pattullo bridge anticipates more tolls as well.
So sitting right there, ready to go, is Surrey’s light-rail vision, backed by a coalition of business, community, unions and all parts of the political spectrum.
[Daryl Dela Cruz has a distinctly different view: Go for SkyTrain, he argues (and extensively illustrates) here.]