The conversation for expanded fixed rail transit in Surrey continues to roll along. Metro Vancouver’s second largest municipality by population and largest by land area is still trying to push forward after the failed transit plebiscitie/referendum of 2015.
- The Conservatives were booted out of Ottawa and Justin Trudeau’s Liberals were voted in. Trudeau has promised billions of dollars in infrastructure spending across the country. The Surrey LRT is a shovel-ready project that has been well-studied and is ready to take off once money is in place.
- 80% of Surrey residents support the building of LRT lines in the city, according to a recent Ipsos-Reid poll. There’s no mention of how to pay for LRT. I’m sure the numbers would have been different if the necessary price tag was attached to the question. However, it is heartening to know that the majority of Surrey residents are all-in for LRT.
- There is a discussion to change the existing 1/3 – 1/3 – 1/3 funding formula for all transit projects in BC. Basically, the arbitrary formula requires that the federal government provides 1/3 of the costs, the provincial government provides another 1/3 of the costs, and the municipal governments provide the last 1/3 of costs. The federal and provincial governments have always been able to provide their thirds quite easily. They have easy taxing vehicles that help to put money into important capital projects. Cities only have property taxes at their disposal. Property tax can only raise so much money for multi-billion dollar transit projects. So now there is talk that the formula be changed so that the federal and provincial governments provide more and the cities less.