One of the most significant infrastructural investments from the federal government’s 2017 budget will be a $2.2-billion commitment towards major public transit projects in Metro Vancouver.
The lion’s share of funding of Phase Two in transit investments will go towards the underground SkyTrain extension of the Millennium Line under Broadway in Vancouver and the new light rail transit network in Surrey.
The federal budget notes that funding allocations for both projects were based on a formula that weighted ridership (70%) and population (30%).
The Broadway extension’s six-kilometre addition, with six new stations from VCC-Clark to Arbutus Street, could attract 150,000 daily riders upon opening while the 27-km, 19-station Surrey LRT could bring 70,000 daily riders when the first train goes into service.
Preliminary estimates peg the construction costs of the Broadway extension project and Surrey LRT at $2 billion and $2.6 billion, respectively.
“Today’s historic federal investment in transit and transportation is a game-changer for our region and the largest in Metro Vancouver in 20 years,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Chair of TransLink’s Mayors’ Council, in response to the federal budget announcement.
The federal funding commitment now places the onus on the provincial government to fill the funding gap required to build both transit projects. The funding share is approximately 50% from the federal government, 33% from the provincial government, and 17% from TransLink.
“The Mayors’ Council appreciates the federal government’s commitment to improving public transit and reducing traffic congestion to keep people moving across our growing region,” Robertson continued. “Metro Mayors are ready to roll-up our sleeves in partnership with the BC government and match this funding with additional dollars to deliver crucial new projects like the Broadway Subway, Surrey rapid transit and the new Pattullo Bridge.”
Both projects could commence construction in 2018 if funding requirements are met.
In total, $20.1 billion will be invested into public transit projects over the next 11 years as part of the federal government’s Phase Two commitments. Transit projects in Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal also received major funding allocations for their prioritized projects.
The federal government also reaffirmed its announcement last fall of the creation of an infrastructure bank.