Thursday, October 15, 2009

Prendergast on Light Rail Demonstration Project for South of Fraser

On Tuesday, I blogged about a presentation to get South Fraser communities on board to start a Community Rail Taskforce to lobby TransLink, the province, and the feds to get a demonstration line started. I’ve obtained a letter from Tom Prendergast, CEO of TransLink outlining the authorities interest in the project. Prendergast states that basically TransLink could support the demonstration line if a.) the province, the federal government, and all municipalities affected by the demonstration project are 100% onboard, and b.) TransLink doesn’t have to pay for it. To me that doesn’t seem like much support.
Given all of these considerations, while TransLink can agree in principle that a Rail Demonstration project could be of value, we are not in a position to endorse the proposal without confirmed regional, provincial and federal government support and funding.
At the end of the day, I think it is going to take some extreme pressure from South Fraser communities to get a demonstration line built. It is also going to take municipal money. Right now the Township of Langley is the only municipality on the Community Rail Taskforce, let’s hope that others join.

On a side note, Prendergast stated that TransLink priorities are as follows:
Working with the Mayor's Council and the Province to gain approval of the $130M "Funding Stabilization" supplement. The sequence of priority at this level of funding being to:
-Maintain existing service
-Maintain assets in a state of good repair
-Find or generate revenue for TransLink's share of the Evergreen Line
-Work with provincial, federal and local governments and rail partners to keep the Roberts Bank Rail corridor projects moving forward in a timely manner so as not to loss available federal funding
-Completing the South of Fraser Rail Network Study
What this means is that the South Fraser will continue to get the short end of the transit stick for the next little while.

You can read the full letter in our document archive. You can also read the reply letter from Mayor Green.

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