Thursday, April 22, 2021

Federal and Provincial budgets are good news for building SkyTrain to Langley

The provincial and federal governments recently released their budgets for the coming year, and it is good news for getting SkyTrain built to Langley.

The provincial government’s budget mentioned the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain project three times. It included funding of $136 million in this year’s budget, a forecasted $272 million in next year’s budget, and $341 million in 2023/34 for transit infrastructure for “notional funding for Surrey-Langley SkyTrain.”

It is notional because the business case for Surrey-Langley SkyTrain is in progress. Provincial staff will complete the business case after the budget is adopted. Once staff complete the business case, and the government approves it, the notional funding will become just funding.

The provincial budget also included continued funding for the Broadway Subway SkyTrain extension as a separate line item.

The other key enabler to get Surrey-Langley SkyTrain built is the federal government. Local governments have been calling on the federal government to make a permanent fund for public transit.

The federal government will be providing $14.9 billion over eight years to support public transit projects such as the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain with a new $3 billion per year permanent transit funding starting in 2026. Of course, this is dependent on the results of a potential upcoming federal election.

This year, the federal government is allocating $328 million for public transit, $572 million for the next budget year, then $954 million, $1.5 billion, and finally $2.6 billion until the permanent public transit fund year. This budget sends a strong signal that the federal government is committed to public transit.

Metro Vancouver municipalities will still need to fund “their share” for Surrey-Langley SkyTrain, which, based on previous projects, will be around 20% to 30% of the total cost. I’m confident that the region will fund the project as significant provincial and federal dollars are on the table.

I’m more hopeful than ever that SkyTrain will be coming to Langley sooner rather than later.

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