Golden Ears Bridge takeover “a good deal” says Township mayor

Langley Township’s mayor is fine with the provincial government taking over the bridge.

Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese said he’s in favour of the provincial government taking over the TransLink-owned Golden Ears Bridge.

“I think it’s a good deal for TransLink,” said Froese.

The possibility of the handover came from a Mayors’ Council meeting last Friday.

It would take the debt load TransLink still owes for the bridge – $1.1 billion – off TransLink’s books.

Froese noted that since the province scrapped bridge tolls, Victoria has agreed to replace lost toll revenue to TransLink. But that’s a temporary, renewable agreement.

“What they decided in the future is really up to the province,” Froese said.

“TransLink continues to own, operate and maintain the Golden Ears Bridge,” said Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson, whose ministry is responsible for TransLink.

She expects a decision on bridge ownership in “the months ahead.”

Since the Patullo Bridge has already been taken over by the province as a replacement is planned, Golden Ears is the only bridge TransLink owns.

If it’s gone, “we’re out of the bridge business,” Froese said.

He noted that the important thing for TransLink is funding for the next phase of expansion plans to the local road and transit network.

Some of those changes are being announced or rolled out, including a new B-Line bus planned for Fraser Highway linking Langley City and Surrey Center.

Four new B-Lines, including the Langley-Surrey route, were officially announced earlier in March and will cost $17.2 million a year to operate. They are to operate every 10 minutes during peak periods and every 15 minutes in off-peak times.

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