Has The SkyTrain Flip-Flop In Surrey Derailed?

Ah, the realities of political promises as the new Mayor of Surrey has now discovered; a very big $514 million problem.

Even the most ardent of SkyTrain supporters, except for the tin foil hat brigade, realize SkyTrain costs a lot more to build than light rail and even may concede it costs more to maintain and operate, but the new mayor faces a huge problem, what services will he cut to build his new SkyTrain, especially when the city has “sunk” $20 million already on the fully funded LRT project.

Bleak news from eastern Canada, may see monies earmarked for light rail in Surrey, be used to help fund Quebec City’s approved new transit plan and help workers in Oshawa Canada.

One wonders if the rumors of Liberal MP’s in Surrey, delivering a message to the new mayor that; “the government will not spend any more money on  Surrey’s transit project, and one had best take the money now, lest it may disappear later?”, are true?

The mayor’s Council on Transit meets on Dec. 13 and just maybe they will deliver this message to Surrey and Surrey’s new mayor; “You have a Hobson’s choice, either take the money for the fully funded LRT and build with LRT or build nothing at all.”

‘Dismayed and shaken to the core’: Surrey’s mayor reveals $514 million debt

by Adam Cooper

Posted Nov 27, 2018

Summary

Mayor McCallum says he’s ‘dismayed and shaken to the core’ by the $514 million debt the city is facing

McCallum and Council have ordered staff to present a budget to significantly cut debt on December 11th

Capital Projects will come under question, raising new uncertainty over SkyTrain expansion and a police force in Surrey

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – There’s new uncertainty over several pre-election promises from new Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum.

Early Tuesday morning, the Mayor’s Office revealed the ‘spiraling’ debt of $514 million the city is facing, which McCallum says he’s “dismayed and shaken to the core” by.

“The fact that the debt load is at $514 million is simply untenable and frankly, irresponsible,” McCallum said.

“When I was previously Mayor for nine years, I took great pride in running the city’s finances by saving first and avoiding debt. Council and I have agreed to immediately bring the city’s fiscal house in order.”

The Council will be ordering staff to prepare a budget that will “significantly cut down the debt by embracing the principle of pay as you go.”

While Mayor McCallum is allaying fears of city services and programs being impacted by any budget cuts, he’s indicated the capital projects planned in the city will need to be reviewed.

“What we will be doing as a Council is determining what makes the most fiscal sense for our ratepayers and how to responsibly proceed with capital projects,” the mayor said.

“In short, we will not mortgage the city’s future and will operate like a regular household by saving up and paying as we go.”

It puts into question several promises made by McCallum, including plans for a SkyTrain extension, free parking and a new police force.

Council staff have been told to present the new budget at the council’s Finance Committee meeting on Dec. 11, where it will be reviewed by the mayor and council.

That meeting had initially been scheduled for Monday of this week, but was cancelled at the last minute.

Comments

5 Responses to “Has The SkyTrain Flip-Flop In Surrey Derailed?”
  1. Adam says:

    Skytrain will be built to Langley by 2026. it is on budget and on time. Cost is included in phase 2 and phase 3 of Translinks 10 year plan.

    It is about time the new mayor is going to clean up the finances of Surrey. The previous mayor was spending way too much money all over the place.

    Local governments are not allowed to have a deficit and must balance the budget every year. It is possible to accumulate some debt for capital projects like community centres, parks, sewers and roads. If you Surrey is bad, Vancouver has almost 1 billion in debt.

    Zwei replies: What utter nonsense. There is no budget to build with SkyTrain and the new environmental review will not be completed until 2003 at the earliest. Construction would not start until 2005 at the earliest and 5 years to build, 2030 will be the earliest to see any sort of revenue operation.

  2. Haveacow says:

    The only money available is from the Stage 1 LRT line. The second stage LRT line to Langley hadn’t been paid for yet! The funding for that line isn’t official until the federal government signed off on providing their share of the money for Stage 2, which was expected around 2020. The provincial part of the stage 2 funding was conditional on getting federal funding.

    I have no doubt that the federal government will eventually give just enough for their 1/3 share for the Langley Skytrain extension but they haven’t yet done that, right now you don’t have enough money. Yes, they have ordered that a new environmental assessment be completed. Not a full one but one that takes into account that, the operational technology has changed, the station building envelopes are larger and the right of way has been moved from a at grade, centre median of the road to one that’s, primarily above grade and on the north side of the highway. They can’t legally or officially give any money until that step is completed. It’s part of the requirements of the federal environmental assessment act. You guys are going to get one uber expensive extension to Langley. Especially considering how few passengers the line will be able to move efficiently. I predict 2022-2025 for a start of construction and opening around 2028-2031.

  3. zweisystem says:

    The person who has been posting under the name Adam has been sent to spam. His email user@adams.net is a source of spam and his IP number matches other spam artists.

  4. zweisystem says:

    It is interesting the dirty politics of SkyTrain.

    Here we have another spammer, using Mike Smyth’s Postmedia email address and his photo.

    You have been sent to spam, Kevin.

  5. Thomas Cheney says:

    Have they budgeted for the additional capacity needed when the system comes on? Also do you know where I could find more information on Skytrain $3 billion capacity upgrade?

    Zwei replies: To date no budget for this, TransLink even refuses to recognize this.

    I think this is going to be a surpise for the taxpayer, when the SkyTrain construction to Langley begins.

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