TransLink is no longer staring at a December 31 deadline to enter into a funding agreement with the federal government for the extension of United Boulevard from Coquitlam to New Westminster.
But regional transportation planners have had to go back to the drawing board following the December 13 rejection by New Westminster city council of the options presented by TransLink for the road project.
“One of the things that we did in order to keep as much flexibility as possible is that we’ve requested that the federal government give us an extension on their funding commitment, and they have done so,” TransLink spokesperson Ken Hardie told the Straight by phone.
According to Hardie, the transportation body has until spring to take advantage of an offer of $65 million in federal funding for the project, which forms part of the Gateway Program’s North Fraser Perimeter Road.
Coquitlam city council has endorsed the project, but getting the approval of the New Westminster council won’t be easy.
“This is such an important decision that we will not be forced to make a hasty decision,” New Westminster councillor Lorrie Williams told the Straight by phone.
Williams noted that the city is already experiencing high traffic volumes on major thoroughfares. “If you opened up the United Boulevard extension, it will just bring in more traffic,” she said.
TransLink is setting aside $60 million for its share of the project.