Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh supports UBC SkyTrain extension

Feb 5 2019, 12:18 am

The proposed SkyTrain extension to the University of British Columbia’s Point Grey campus has the support of federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.

In a recent sit-down interview with Daily Hive, Singh said the extension from the Millennium Line’s future Arbutus Street terminus to UBC “desperately” needs funding.

“There’s a lot of great work the university does, but people can’t get there and it’s harder and harder for students to have access to this institution… and this is exactly what the federal government should be doing; partnering with municipalities and provinces on infrastructure that would help unlock other infrastructure,” he said.

He went on to explain his thoughts on how housing and transportation are interconnected.

“[I] found the SkyTrain to be pretty cool, it’s a good way to get around and I’m lucky that I live not too far away from a station,” he said. “But I think it highlights that when we talk about housing as a crisis, we also have to talk about transit and getting around, because having people move an hour out of the city and having to commute by car is not a solution, nor is it sustainable.”

An extension of SkyTrain to UBC has been stated as the preferred technology choice by TransLink staff, and this is also the City of Vancouver’s official preference following a City Council vote last week. Their support for a seamless SkyTrain extension is based on technical findings that determined only SkyTrain, not street-level LRT, would meet long-term capacity needs and attract the most ridership.

TransLink’s Mayors’ Council is anticipated to vote on a technology preference in a meeting later this month.

It is expected the SkyTrain extension from Arbutus Street to UBC will be approximately seven kilometres in length and will cost between $2.8 billion and $3.2 billion in 2018 dollars. No funding has been committed for this project at this time, but local government officials are organizing their lobbying efforts ahead of the federal election in fall 2019.

Singh is, of course, running for the MP seat for the riding of Burnaby-South, after former NDP MP Kennedy Stewart resigned his position to run for — and ultimately be elected — Mayor of Vancouver last fall. The byelection in the riding is scheduled for February 25.

With files from Eric Zimmer.

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