Zwei has a simple question:
Where is the funding?
With the cost of the Expo Line extension to Langley, exceeding the last estimate of $3.95 billion; the Broadway subway completion to UBC now exceeding $5 billion; and of course that pesky $3 billion rehab to the Expo and millennium Lines that TransLink refuses to acknowledge publicly, just where will be funding for this short line?
There is no funding and a SkyTrain line to Newton will not happen and TransLink knows this. This is pure smokescreen to hide the fact that SkyTrain will probably not reach Langley and even the most ardent supporters of SkyTrain in Surrey are circling the wagons.
The following letter was printed in the Langley Advance Times, which given the stance in the past where negative news about SkyTrain light metro was politely omitted from local papers, this published letter shows that there are cracks appearing in the SkyTrain facade.
Screenshot 2022-04-21 at 12-42-03 Langley Advance Times - eEditions
 The following quote, poses many questions:
It (BRT) is significantly cheaper than SkyTrain investments at $15-million per kilometre, versus $400 million per kilometre for the train.
$400 million/km for SkyTrain? Is this now the real cost of the Expo Line extension to Langley? That would put the cost of 16 km Expo Line extension to Langley at $6.4 billion! No wonder TransLink is trying to put the “big sell” for BRT for the Fraser Valley.
Still, Rail for the Valley’s updated Leewood Study would cost less than $1.5 billion for 130 km (less than $11.5 million/km) of a regional light diesel multiple unit line from Vancouver to Chilliwack, with a maximum of three trains per hour servicing North Delta, Cloverdale (and the proposed new hospital KPU); Langley, Trinity Western University, Abbotsford, and Veddar/Sardis (Cultus Lake).
It seems that TransLink and the provincial government would rather spend billions of dollars on prestige projects and never admit that Rail for the Valley’s Leewood Study, provided an affordable solution at a cost less than the six figured salaried bureaucrats could come up with.
Ottawa's O-Train light DMU.

Ottawa’s O-Train light DMU.

People wait to board the 301 Brighouse bunch to Richmond at Newton Exchange on Friday, March 20, 2020. (File photo: Lauren Collins)People wait to board the 301 Brighouse bunch to Richmond at Newton Exchange on Friday, March 20, 2020. (File photo: Lauren Collins)

TransLink wants to explore SkyTrain extension into Newton

But the BIA executive director wonders how much longer the town centre will have to wait

TransLink says it wants to explore a potential SkyTrain extension to Newton within the next 10 years.

The transit company unveiled its priorities for the first 10 years of its Transport 2050 plan Wednesday (April 20) and the possibility of a Newton line made the list.

But while one Surrey city councillor lauds talk of a Newton SkyTrain line, the leader of a local business group says Newton is still waiting for there to be “real investment” in the community.

“According to the Transit 2050 plan update that was recently released, it seems that other communities have leapfrogged Newton,” said Philip Aguirre, executive director for the Newton Business Improvement Association.

“Newton has the population, the jobs, and the ridership but still has no commitment or real investment in the community. In the year 2032 will we still be talking about ‘exploring other potential SkyTrain extensions, including Newton in Surrey?’”

Aguirre says he wonders how long Newton will have to wait to get rapid transit down King George Boulevard to the town centre.

In 2018, after the majority Safe Surrey Coalition was voted in, Surrey’s light rail transit (LRT) project was cancelled and focus switched to the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension project.

Newton Town Centre would have been home to one of the terminus stations for LRT, which would have run from Guildford down 104 Avenue to City Centre and then up King George Boulevard to Newton. The fully funded and approved project would have been completed by 2024.

In Wednesday’s announcement, TransLink said it plans to spend the next 10 years doubling its regional bus service, expanding its rapid bus service, and completing the majority of its new bike and walkways. These priorities are outlined in TransLink’s Transport 2050 strategic plan, which

According to a discussion guide from TransLink, the transit authority is looking to invest in rapid transit on up to 11 corridors, which includes the King George Boulevard and Scott Road corridors. Along King George Boulevard, TransLink is looking to extend RapidBus or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) from Surrey Centre to White Rock and “complete an exploratory business case of grade separation and technology alternatives, including SkyTrain, between Surrey Centre and Newton.”

Surrey Coun. Doug Elford was thrilled with TransLink’s plan, which was unanimously adopted by the TransLink Mayor’s Council in January.

“I think it’s critical. We do have a rapid bus planned, for now, which I think is fantastic in the short-term,” he said. “But in the long-term, I think SkyTrain to Newton and then eventually all the way to the south would be ideal. That’s something that we would be advocating for. I know the mayor has advocated for that before.”

Elford added he’s glad it’s Newton Skytrain made the list of 10-year priorities.

“It’s going to happen. it’s just a matter of time.”

Meantime, the major focus of the next decade is on bus rapid transit — buses that operate in fully separated lanes with signal priority designed to keep buses moving.

In Surrey, TransLink’s 10-year priorities include BRT on several corridors with two of those in Surrey: King George Boulevard from Surrey to White Rock and Scott Road, an upgrade from the R6.

TransLink said the bus rapid transit routes will be serviced by zero emissions or low emissions vehicles. Riders will prepay before boarding and buses have more spacious interiors to allow higher passenger capacities — similar to a rapid light rail experience. It is significantly cheaper than SkyTrain investments at $15-million per kilometre, versus $400 million per kilometre for the train.