Sometime in 2022, commuters in Surrey should be able to use a light rail transportation system to travel between City Centre and Guildford, as well as north and south on King George Boulevard.
That’s if the projected timeline for the planning and contraction of the “L” Line route remains on schedule over the next five years, City of Surrey Manager of Rapid Transit and Strategic Projects Paul Lee told the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce Tuesday afternoon.
Lee told roughly 40 chamber members the L Line, named because of its shape and approved by TransLink’s Mayors’ Council in 2014, is a $1-billion project which will use light rail technology in a system that will run along 104 Avenue between Guildford and Surrey City Centre, and continue south along King George Boulevard.
“We’ve done the design for the L Line, we’ve determined what it will cost,” said Lee, adding that a federal government pledge this past June has kickstarted funding for the project.
“The Prime Minister (Justin Trudeau) announced $370 million (in federal funding for Metro Vancouver transit improvements), which generated $740 million, because the provincial government has committed to one-third funding and there is another 17 per cent from the region,” Lee said. “For light rail, we now have seed money of $58 million.”
Further funding will need to be secured by 2017, construction should begin by late 2018 with the start of service on the L Line scheduled for late 2022.
Private/public partnerships will be part of the funding formula, said Lee, noting that it will be “very important to combine the transportation project with land use along the line.”
The L Line is one of two major rapid transit projects for Surrey which is part of the Mayors’ Council proposal for transportation improvements over the next decade.
The other project is a rapid transit line along Fraser Highway connecting the end of the current SkyTrain line in North Surrey to Langley City.
“The design is in progress, and we’re looking at two technologies,” said Lee. “One is light rail, where (rail) cars run in the middle of the road. The other is SkyTrain, similar to that of the Expo and Millennium lines.”
Noting that TransLink “is the owner” of the Fraser Highway project and Surrey “is a partner,” Lee said the city prefers at-grade light rail while the province is leaning towards SkyTrain and an elevated route no mater which technology is used.