Our view: No help in budget for local transit

A recent survey of Surrey residents showed very high support for some kind of light-rail transit coming to that city.

Nor would many Langley residents, especially in Langley City, Brookswood, or Willoughby, object to extending light rail as far as our community.

But unfortunately, our provincial government doesn’t seem to have any intention of putting forward the money immediately for such a major project.

The City of Surrey is willing. During the last election, both federal Liberals and Conservatives touted their infrastructure bona fides and promised cash for local projects.

But transit projects in B.C. are a three-legged stool. If the province doesn’t come to the table, there’s no way to get a major, expensive, and lengthy project like a light rail line off the ground.

We need better transit in the Lower Mainland, and particularly South of the Fraser. Surrey’s population is rising rapidly. Where once we had a single large city – Vancouver – surrounded by suburbs, increasingly we have multiple centers of density, including in Coquitlam, Richmond, Surrey, and even in formerly-rural Langley.

Surrey is the second-largest community by population in B.C., and it’s growing fast. The Langleys are, essentially, successors to Burnaby and New Westminster. And no one would suggest that cities like Burnaby and New West don’t need all the transit they can get.

Right now, the economy is uncertain. Liquid Natural Gas hasn’t taken off yet. Alberta is in trouble. Our dollar is in the doldrums.

But our growth hasn’t slowed down one iota.

TransLink has failed to solve the problems of transit planning in the region. The provincial government, as the creator of TransLink, needs to step up and either toss TransLink the money, or start doing the planning and funding itself.

– M.C.

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