The latest newsletter from Mayor Gregor Robertson's office is touting the yet-to-be-built Broadway subway as "one of the most urgently-needed major transit investments anywhere in Canada".
The newsletter also states: "It’s a nationally-significant project that will help Vancouver’s economy continue to grow as a leading global hub for innovation—will you help spread the word?"
Robertson delivered a similar message at a meeting of Canadian big-city mayors last month, calling it a nationally significant project.
A year ago when he publicly backed the project at a news conference with UBC president Stephen Toope, Robertson called the Broadway subway a "regional need".
UBC has declared that it would like the line to go from the Commercial-Broadway Station to the Point Grey campus.
However, a City of Vancouver planning document concerning land near False Creek Flats suggests that any rapid-transit line will extend from the VCC-Clark Station along Great Northern Way.
"The future extension of the Millennium Line SkyTrain is proposed through the site, including a station at the northeast corner of Great Northern Way and Thornton St.," the city stated. "The future line is anticipated to extend along the northern edge of the site and enter a bored tunnel before turning south to meet the next proposed station at Main and Broadway."
TransLink has prepared several options for enhancing transit along the Broadway corridor to UBC.
Street-level light-rail transit to UBC via Broadway, West 10th Avenue, and University Boulevard is estimated to cost $1.1 billion.
If this were partially tunnelled, the cost could rise to $1.8 billion.
This option would allow for about 160,000 daily boardings.
Rail-rapid transit and light-rapid transit in combination would cost $2.7 billion. Under this scenario, the rail would run from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus Street, with street-level light-rail transit operating from the Main Street–Science World Station to UBC. This option would offer the most daily boardings: 350,000.
The mainly tunnelled route with SkyTrain-like technology from VCC-Clark via Great Northern Way to Broadway, along West 10th Avenue, and to University Boulevard would cost $3 billion and allow for 320,000 daily boardings.
This more expensive option is forecast to increase the number of new daily transit trips to 54,000, which is significantly more than the other two options.
Meanwhile, Surrey council is pushing for a three-pronged street-level light-rail line connecting Surrey Centre with Guildford, Langley, and Newton. Its preferred option is estimated to cost $2.18 billion.
With a federal election looming next year, Surrey and Vancouver politicians are trying to line up federal government support for rapid-transit projects in their cities.
Meanwhile, the B.C. Liberal government, which may decide the issue, has only four MLAs in Vancouver compared to five in Surrey and two in Langley.