Transit plan would bring light rail into Langley

 

Metro Vancouver mayors want an ambitious transit expansion plan that will cost billions, bring light rail to Langley, add hundreds of buses, and put a price on using roads.

The TransLink Mayors Council released its vision of transit funding on Thursday.

The projects included would involve $7.5 billion in additional capital spending, and would increase TransLink’s annual operating budget from $1.4 billion to $2.2 billion.

Major infrastructure components of the plan would include the replacement of the Patullo Bridge, and new light rail lines in Surrey. The longest of those would head down the Fraser Highway to Langley City.

Also of note would be a new B-line style bus that would run regularly from Langley City, up 200th Street and across the Golden Ears Bridge, and down the Lougheed Highway to Coquitlam Centre.

A general increase in bus service would see more regular service on 15-minute intervals in a number of areas.

Willoughby and Brookswood in Langley are specifically mentioned in the documents as areas that need an upgrade in basic transit coverage.

There would also be upgrades to major bus loops and transit exchanges, including the Langley and Willowbrook exchanges.

The plan also calls for adding 2,700 km of bike lanes, including 300 km of fully separated lanes, bike parking at transit hubs, and better pedestrian access.

Township mayor Jack Froese was positive about the plan.

“Eleven mayors worked on this, and after 12 weeks of collaboration, we believe we have set out a vision that works for the entire region,” Froese said in a statement.

The mayors proposed to pay for this through several means, but one of those has already been rejected outright by Transit Minister Todd Stone.

The mayors wanted to use BC Carbon Tax revenues collected in Metro Vancouver, about $250 million, at least in the near term.

That would go along with provincial and federal contributions to new infrastructure, $500 million of new revenues from increased ridership, a Patullo Bridge toll, and in the long term, road pricing.

An upcoming referendum on the plan is expected, possibly as soon as this November’s municipal elections.

“Our roads are already congested and we expect to see rapid growth in this area over the next few decades,” Froese said. “This is an investment in transportation that will be great for the Township and all the communities on this side of the river. We need a transportation system that will create shorter commute times, get people out of their cars, and encourage them to make use of transit.”

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