Surrey Leader – Valley ignored by TransLink

Valley ignored by TransLink

Published: October 19, 2010 4:00 PM

Updated: October 19, 2010 4:31 PM

The recent announcement by TransLink dismissing the Interurban corridor from transit consideration shows the provincial government to be completely out of touch when it comes to meeting the needs of people South of the Fraser River.

Rail For the Valley has never claimed the Interurban corridor should be the only route for light rail through Surrey. Rather, due to the nature of the line, light rail could be implemented quickly and with extreme economy over long distances, thereby establishing an attractive initial base from which a more extensive light rail network could grow.

By dismissing the Interurban corridor, firstly Translink is dismissing outright the needs of thousands of residents of Delta who will not be served by any of the transit extensions TransLink has proposed.

Secondly, TransLink is dismissing Newton, South Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley, communities that will likely have to wait decades for light rail to come. Light rail implementation on the existing Interurban tracks would cost about $5 million/km, according to a recent comprehensive study of the corridor by a respected firm with expertise in light rail. Light rail construction when there is no track available, however, usually costs on the order of $20-30 million/km, or greater than $100 million/km for Skytrain. With the Evergreen Skytrain Line already delayed 20 years due to its cost, one can only guess how long these communities will have to wait.

Thirdly, TransLink is dismissing the people of Abbotsford and Chilliwack, two fast-growing cities in the Fraser Valley that, without the Interurban, will be lucky to get light rail to their communities in the next 40 years. While Abbotsford and Chilliwack are not a part of TransLink, artificial boundaries must never be used to write off regions by an organization created ostensibly to serve the public good.

Fourthly, TransLink is dismissing the taxpayers of British Columbia, who will ultimately be left paying the bill for transit decisions that do not even consider the taxpayer as part of the equation.

TransLink has not listened to the people of the Fraser Valley. Ultimately, the Provincial government directs TransLink and must stand accountable. Citizens of the Fraser Valley must ask themselves, should they continue to support a government that so blatantly ignores their interests?

John Buker

Rail For the Valley

via Surrey Leader – Valley ignored by TransLink.

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