With a provincial election just six weeks away, the B.C. government has announced a huge investment in rapid transit.
The minister responsible for TransLink, Peter Fassbender, said this morning that the province will match a $2.2-billion federal contribution announced in the recent budget.
The federal funds will be rolled out over 11 years.
In 2015, the TransLink Mayors' Council called for three light rail lines in Surrey costing $2.1 billion.
They would extend from Surrey City Centre to Guildford, Newton, and Langley City.
In addition, the mayors advocated for a $2-billion subway from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus Street and West Broadway.
Fassbender said that these provincial and federal funding commitments lay the groundwork for the Mayor's Council's phase two transportation improvements to proceed.
Phase two also incudes replacement of the Pattullo Bridge, expansion of bus and HandyDart service, and improvements to major roads, cycling infrastructure, walking paths, and transit access points.
Under the funding formula, TransLink will be expected to make up the $1.1-billion difference between the senior governments' contribution and the final cost.
Prior to the 2013 provincial election, the B.C. Liberal party promised that any local funding for transit must be approved in a referendum.
In the last referendum in 2015, voters soundly defeated a proposed 0.5 percent increase in the provincial sales tax to fund the mayors' recommended transportation plan for Metro Vancouver.