Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Translink Set to Spend $1.1 Billion on 6km of SkyTrain in Surrey

Translink presented their South of Fraser Area Transit Plan vision for 2031 on Monday, March 10th. Of course, the Interurban line was not part of their plan. Township council narrowly endorsed the plan 5-4.

Translink still seems to think that the Interurban line should be implemented sometime after 2030. Apparently a line that goes through key industrial high employment areas by Newton, residential areas like Sullivan Heights and Willlowbrook, major colleges like Kwantlen and universities like TWU, key transit interchanges like Nordel Crossing/Scott Road, Newton Town Centre, Langley Town Centre, and commercial areas most notable the Langley Regional Town Centre is a waste of money.

Instead Translink is prepared to support spending $1.1 billion on only 6km of SkyTrain to Fleetwood and $1.2 billion on Rapid Bus.

$1.1 billion could be better spent on getting us light rail on King George Highway and 104th Avenue in Surrey, and restoring the Interurban line from Scott Road to 264th Street.

It is funny that they still use passenger/freight rail separation as an issue with the line. It would not be hard to work out a solution with Southern Rail, as the province owns the right-of-way and passenger rights. Through the busy rail section in Langley it could go through downtown on BC Hydro right-of-way, among other options. The following picture is from Translink’s own study of the line.

Now the Translink plan isn’t all bad, but they need to include the Interurban in their plans now. It would save them (and the taxpayer) billions of dollars on expensive SkyTrian and RapidBus that could be better invested to provide much needed bus service today and a proper light rail network that would cover the South Fraser.

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