Preliminary investigation by TransLink has revealed the cost of extending Vancouver’s SkyTrain system to Langley would cost about $3.1 billion.
Currently, TransLink has about $1.6 billion of the project funded, which is enough for the SkyTrain to go from the current King George Station to Fleetwood. Any more work needed for the project to reach Langley is unfunded and would require additional financial contribution from other sources, findings indicate.
TransLink estimates work could be completed within five-and-a-half years from a full project approval date. It would include 16 km of new track, eight stations and 55 vehicles. Ridership would be 62,000 in 2035 and grow to over 71,000 in by 2050. This project would see trains operate every 4 to 5 minutes during peak periods and the total travel time from King George Station to the proposed Langley City Centre Station would take approximately 22 minutes.
TransLink is recommending that a full business case be developed for the Surrey Langley SkyTrain project by early next year. The data will be reviewed by the Mayors Council this month to decide on the next steps.
“TransLink will be seeking to complete a business case for the proposed Surrey Langley SkyTrain,” said Jeff Busby, director of Surrey Langley SkyTrain in a statement to the Journal of Commerce. “The proposed Surrey Langley SkyTrain offers considerable benefits and would be a very good project for the region.”
Two years ago, the project was estimated to cost $2.9 billion and Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum campaigned on a promise to deliver the project for $1.65 billion.
According to TransLink, the current estimates represent a better understanding of the project corridor, gained through months of intensive design work. Utility conflicts and soil conditions in parts of the corridor are more costly to address than previously thought.
The estimate is also well within the region’s 10-year plan which earmarks $3.55 billion for rapid transit out to Langley.
The City of Surrey and Mayor McCallum’s office did not respond to requests for comment.
Plans to build light rail transit at street level in Surrey instead of SkyTrain were well underway until last November when McCallum scrapped them.
“There wasn’t public consulting done,” said McCallum at the time in a speech to other Mayors’ Council members. “This was all decided by the past council. That’s why they were defeated. They didn’t listen to the public. And I will also say TransLink did not listen to the public.”