Parties spar over rail funding promises for Surrey-Langley

Local candidates vied to offer the best plan on funding light rail through the valley.

A Conservative promise to partially fund light rail to Langley was met with cheers by party supporters, but criticism from opposing candidates.

On Monday, the Conservatives announced up to $700 million in funding for the Surrey light rail proposal. That plan would create a light rail passenger line from the current SkyTrain line down Fraser Highway and into Langley City.

The plan was announced twice by Conservative MPs James Moore and Stockwell Day, first in Surrey and later in Langley at Cloverdale-Langley City candidate Dean Drysdale’s campaign headquarters.

“This will allow people to get to work and home again in less time,” said Drysdale.

The funding will cover up to one third of the cost of the project. Surrey has already indicated it wants to go ahead with the project, but it is uncertain if the province or TransLink will fund the final third.

Other local candidates criticized the announcement.

“The Conservative’s one-off announcement leaves the Lower Mainland without stable, predictable funding for the ability to plan long term,” said Rebecca Smith, NDP candidate for Cloverdale-Langley City.

She cited the NDP’s plan to invest $5.2 billion in public transit and infrastructure over the next 20 years in the Lower Mainland.

“The Liberals have announced a quadrupling of funding for public transit,” said John Aldag, the riding’s Liberal candidate. That would amount to $20 billion over 10 years.

“We’re committed to ensuring light rail goes ahead in Surrey,” Aldag said.

Drysdale, at his announcement event, talked about the $80 billion the Conservatives plan to spend on infrastructure across Canada in the coming years.

 

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