TransLink and the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation had long planned for light rail along the Fraser Highway to Langley. But despite concerns over delayed construction after Metro Vancouver mayors’ opted for SkyTrain over light rail, TransLink plans show the agency intends to finish its South of the Fraser rail plans just one year behind schedule.
The $1.65 billion Surrey-Newton-Guildford portion was scheduled to start operations in 2024 but those plans were thrown out after newly-elected Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum convinced the Mayors’ Council to look at SkyTrain instead.
Newly-posted draft SkyTrain plans from TransLink show how the agency plans to convert over to a SkyTrain line along Fraser Highway and enhance B-Line service in the Surrey-Newton-Guildford area.
A TransLink spokesperson confirmed the 2025 completion date was for spending the $1.65 billion already set aside for light rail in Surrey-Newton-Guildford.
The available funding will push SkyTrain further into Surrey along Fraser Highway, but will not be sufficient to extend the line all the way to Langley.
Although TransLink says the $1.65 billion in funding for light rail will likely transfer over to SkyTrain, much of that money comes from senior government and the agency will have to submit a new business case in order to transfer it to a different form of rail.
Newly-posted draft SkyTrain plans from TransLink show that the agency plans on completing a 16 kilometre SkyTrain line from Surrey to Langley by 2025, just one year after the Surrey-Newton-Guildford light rail line was scheduled to be completed.
The plans do not include a cost estimate for the new SkyTrain line but the agency currently has $30 million set aside for “pre-design work” in 2019. Light rail along Fraser Highway was estimated to cost $1.9 billion, while SkyTrain was forecasted to come in at $2.9 billion.
As of December, TransLink says it has spent $56.6 million on light rail, down from a $77 million estimate the month prior.