Justin Trudeau offers billions for rapid transit in Metro Vancouver before Bill C-25 has even gone to second reading

The legislation clears the way for infrastructure funding to come directly from the government's consolidated revenue fund

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      Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made some big transit promises today for the Lower Mainland.

      He pledged up to $1.3 billion in federal funds for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension project.

      The first phase will connect the eastern terminus of the Expo Line, King George Station, with Fleetwood.

      In addition, Trudeau promised that the federal government will cover 40 percent of the cost of an extension of the Millennium Line from Arbutus Street to UBC.

      Premier John Horgan promised today that the province would match the federal government's 40 percent contribution to extend SkyTrain to UBC.

      The Millennium Line is currently being extended in a $2.8-billion project extending from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus Street and which will have six new stations.

      Parliament has not approved Bill C-25, which is an act to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act.

      Introduced on March 25, the bill authorizes certain payments to be made out of the government's consolidated revenue fund in relation to infrastructure and Canada's COVID-19 immunization plan.

      Bill C-25 has only received first reading in Parliament.

      Moreover, TransLink has still not come up with its portion of the funding for an extension of the SkyTrain line from Fleetwood to Langley (if that will be necessary) or from Arbutus Street to UBC.

      The entire cost of building SkyTrain from Surrey to Langley Centre is estimated at $3.1 billion. The first phase has a funding envelope of $1.63 billion.

      In 2019, TransLink estimated it would cost between $3.3 billion to $3.8 billion in 2018 dollars to extend SkyTrain from Arbutus Street to UBC. By 2030, that cost would be between $4.1 billion and $4.8 billion.

      "By continuing to invest in major public transit projects, we’re shortening commutes, creating well-paying, middle class jobs, growing the economy, fighting climate change, and helping make life easier and more affordable for people in British Columbia and across Canada," Trudeau said. "As we do what it takes to build a recovery from COVID‑19 that works for everyone, we will keep focusing on improving the quality of life of Canadians and building back a healthier, stronger, and more competitive Canada."