Trudeau announces $1.37B in funding for Broadway Subway and Surrey LRT

Sep 4 2018, 8:00 pm

Prime Minister Trudeau has announced a federal funding commitment of $1.37 billion towards TransLink’s two major rail rapid transit projects.

Early this afternoon in Surrey, Trudeau reaffirmed the federal government’s funding towards the underground Broadway extension of the Millennium Line from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus Street and the Surrey Newton-Guildford light rail transit line (SNG LRT).

“BC is a second home to me. I have been coming to the Lower Mainland all my life, and yes, I have seen first hand how much BC has grown over the years,” said Trudeau during the press conference held in Surrey. “I remember the experience well of packed Broadway buses pass by and waiting for one with room.”

“For a decade, municipalities and provinces did not have support from the federal government to support their growth to keep up with the rapid pace of growth.”

Today’s announcement amounts to the federal and provincial government’s approval of the business cases for the projects, including the usage of street-level light rail technology in Surrey.

“How you connect housing is you develop transit systems that make sense,” said Premier John Horgan, emphasizing the role of transportation on housing affordability. “Once we get started on these projects, students will be able to travel between Simon Fraser University in Surrey and Burnaby and out to UBC, connecting our post-secondary institutions like BCIT with public transit.”

The 5.7-km-long, six-station SkyTrain extension will cost $2.83 billion while the first phase of the SNG LRT with 10.5 km of track and 11 stations will cost $1.65 billion.

Both projects will cost a combined $4.48 billion, with the provincial government providing $1.82 billion and TransLink, City of Vancouver, and City of Surrey covering $1.23 billion.

Vancouver’s municipal government is providing an in-kind land contribution of $99.8 million to the Broadway Extension, which mainly relates to the value of land required for some of the subway station entrances.

While TransLink has been responsible for Broadway Extension planning up to this point, moving forward the Broadway Extension project will become the responsibility of provincial government’s Ministry of Transportation, as it is the owner of the existing SkyTrain system. Similar to the Evergreen Extension, it will be operated by TransLink once complete.

However, TransLink will resume planning of the SNG LRT project, and once open it will be operated by the private sector for the first seven years.

Procurement for the Surrey project will begin this week while the Broadway project will go into procurement later this fall.

Construction on both projects will begin in 2020 for a 2024 opening of the Surrey LRT and a 2025 opening of the Broadway Extension.

The Broadway Extension is a seamless extension of SkyTrain’s existing Millennium Line, and it will provide an 11-minute trip ride between VCC-Clark Station and Arbutus Street, attracting 140,000 boardings per day upon opening.

Currently on the 99 B-Line, it takes up to 30 minutes to travel this same span reaching Commercial-Broadway Station, and this is expected to rise to 50 minutes in the future from heavy traffic congestion.

The Broadway Extension will also have an initial capacity of 5,100 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) – a 250% capacity increase over the existing 99 B-Line. Trains will run every 3 to 4 minutes.

A future phase beyond Arbutus Street will take the subway to the University of British Columbia campus, and the capacity can grow to over 25,000 pphpd – more than 10 times the peak hour capacity of the 99 B-Line.

As for SNG LRT, it will have an end-to-end travel time of 27 minutes – approximately two minutes faster than the existing 96 B-Line on the same route. Opening day ridership is forecast at between 42,000 to 46,000 boardings per day.

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond described the projects as a “game changer” and noted that the Evergreen extension, which opened in late-2016, increased transit ridership in the Tri-Cities area by 40% last year.

“It is a long time coming to get the Broadway Subway built… these corridors we are talking about today are absolutely ready for high-capacity rail,” said Desmond.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson added: “In Vancouver, we’re celebrating one of the largest infrastructure investments in BC history that will be built on Broadway. It is an essential transportation project for the entire region of Metro Vancouver… we know it will have a remarkable benefit for the whole region.”

These projects are part of the Mayors’ Council’s overall $7.3-billion Phase Two transit expansion plan, which includes new SkyTrain cars, upgrades of existing SkyTrain stations, new SkyTrain maintenance facilities, and additional bus and SeaBus service.

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