The federal budget unveiled Tuesday included more than $460,000,000 earmarked for transit, and Langley City’s mayor looks at it as a good start.
Mayor Ted Schaffer was glad the Metro Vancouver area was specifically mentioned in the budget tabled in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
“I was hoping for a little bit more money,” Schaffer said.
The budget documents mention funding for accelerated design, implementation, and construction for new large-scale projects, such as light rail lines in Metro Vancouver.
There are currently two light rail lines that have been vying for funding. Schaffer and other South of the Fraser mayors have been calling for funding for a Surrey Light Rail project, which would include a rail link from SkyTrain down Fraser Highway all the way to Langley City.
The other is the Broadway corridor in Vancouver, where a subway has been contemplated.
If the local light rail project is built, two stops in Langley City are planned – one at a lot near Innes Corners and the Cascades Casino, and another at the Willowbrook Shopping Centre.
Standing at Innes Corners earlier this week, Sdchaffer pointed out that under the City has already planned for growth in the area that could be driven by a rail link.
Any single-storey building in the area could be up for redevelopment, Schaffer said.
It is time for the South of the Fraser to get its rail expansion, the mayor said, after the creation of the Evergreen Line and other links to the north of the river.
With the federal government pledging up to 50 per cent of funding for transit projects, Schaffer said the money would be a “pretty good down payment to get things going.”
Both rail projects were to have been funded through the 0.5 per cent sales tax increase in Metro Vancouver, but last year’s referendum killed that plan. Since then, TransLink has not come forward with any concrete plans to add new rail lines or new transit capacity in the region.
Surrey has been trying to push the project forward, working to find funding with various partners.
Amarjit Sohi, the minister of infrastructure and communities, is scheduled to meet with the TransLink Mayors’ Council this week, said Schaffer.