Amarjeet Sohi is the federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.

New rapid transit lines not tied to next election: Sohi

Federal infrastructure minister says grant timing is about project readiness not politics

Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi is defending the federal government’s choice of a two-track grant rollout for transit projects that could leave new rapid transit lines in Metro Vancouver waiting until after the next federal election.

Critics have said the back-end loading of much infrastructure grant money into the 2020s may leave Surrey light rail and the Vancouver SkyTrain extension dependent on the Trudeau Liberals’ re-election for a final green light.

“This is not about waiting until the next mandate – that’s totally misinformation,” Sohi told Black Press.

“My goal is to conclude our long-term plan within the next year. And assure our partners that when their projects are ready to go, we will be there to support them.”

Sohi said Surrey LRT and the Broadway subway need more work before they reach the shovel-ready stage, when major funding could flow, but added that could be sooner than the next election.

“We will work with them to advance their projects as quickly as they are ready to go.”

The first stage of federal funding is to deliver an estimated $370 million in transit infrastructure grants for Metro Vancouver.

That money is to help with design or engineering work on the major new lines, as well as other transit improvements, such as bus system expansions and SkyTrain station upgrades.

TransLink and Metro Vancouver mayors are already considering what transit upgrades could be launched rapidly.

“My goal is to ensure that this money flows to them in this construction season,” Sohi said, admitting that timeline is tight. “We will work very diligently with the province to sign bilateral agreements with them so money can start flowing to communities as quickly as possible.”

Another $212 million in the federal budget for Metro Vancouver’s new sewage treatment plant on the North Shore will flow as soon as that project is ready to go, Sohi added.

Sohi said mayors across the country overwhelmingly support the plan, which promises $120 billion in infrastructure spending over 10 years.

The new bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel – the province’s top infrastructure priority – wasn’t mentioned in the federal budget last week.

Sohi has not ruled out federal support of the project but says the province has not yet applied for funding.

He said Ottawa will generally look to local governments to set infrastructure priorities.

Just Posted

VIDEO: New doctors, but fewer spaces for patients in Langley

Retirements have left some Langley residents without a family physician.

Langley Thunder stop Shamrocks

The local lacrosse season is close to wrapping up.

‘Sabrina’ series will film late into the night in Cloverdale

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will be on location at ‘Cerberus Books’ until early Saturday

Throwback Thursday: July 19, 2018

Can you help us caption a photo from Langley’s past?

Our View: Location matters when it comes to candidates

Those running for civic office should live in the community they want to represent.

VIDEO: Langley City invests in outdoor recreation for residents

New amenities have been added to several of its parks, including ziplines.

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

UPDATED: Anti-pipeline campers digging in as eviction deadline expires

The City of Burnaby had ordered the Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters out for violating bylaws

Trump was taped talking of paying Playboy model: AP source

Source says former personal lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded discussion prior to 2016 election

VIDEO: How to throw a frisbee

Ultimate frisbee player Amy Mackay shows off the proper technique

Site C dam project plagued by problems: expert

E. Harvey Elwin expresses concern about internal BC Hydro and government documents

Most Read