SURREY First mayoral candidate Linda Hepner wants to have phase one of a planned light rail rapid transit (LRT) system up and running by 2018, and she’s prepared to put revenues from development along the route towards paying for the system.
“I’m committed to having phase one of the project designed, built and running by 2018,” said Hepner. “That particular portion would be 10 kilometres long and connect Surrey City Centre to Guildford in 10 minutes along 104 Avenue, and City Centre to Newton in 15 minutes along King George Boulevard, with 11 stops along the way. We chose light rail for a number of reasons, including lower costs and faster up start up time. Now, it’s time to get to work, because keeping our city moving is a big priority for our Surrey First team. So, we’re prepared to come to the table with land, and revenues from development along the route, to help move the project forward with partners such as TransLink and the federal and provincial governments.
“Just look at the growth and development along the Canada Line, or the Expo or Millennium SkyTrain lines and you can see that transit routes are people want to live and work. Putting City revenues from those developments to work are just one way of making sure we get on with light rail. By the time the entire system is complete, we’ll also have a second route from City Centre along Fraser Highway to Langley.”
When complete, both phases will cover 27 kilometres with up to 20 stops. The full system is to be complete within five years of phase one completion. The LRT will complement additional traffic congestion solutions already being implemented in the city. The new Traffic Management Centre (TMC) based at City Hall utilizes leading edge technology capable of monitoring traffic 24 hours a day. By the end of December, the City will have 250 active intersection cameras, with plans to eventually cover every traffic light. With this system, traffic signal operation can be adjusted in real time, based on traffic conditions and delays such as traffic accidents. Hepner has also committed to working with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to advance the construction of a full interchange at 152 Street and Highway 99.
Hepner said that while the upcoming regional referendum on transit funding will play a big role in the development of Surrey’s light rail line system, she’s committed to doing everything the city can to make sure it passes. If it fails, Hepner is committed to getting the system built sooner rather than later.
“We’re prepared to think outside of the box on this project, particularly when it comes to funding, which is why we’re going to look at development opportunities along the line and how we leverage development and put it to work to get things started” said Hepner. “Our citizens have told us loud and clear that transit, transportation and easing congestion on our roads are all important priorities to our city’s future. People want to get around their city, so we’re prepared to make sure this project gets the green light right away.”
Hepner said that if she is elected on November 15, one of her first meetings will be with city staff and the Surrey City Development Corporation to look at funding options and how quickly the city can proceed with building light rail across the community.
“Our partners in Ottawa and Victoria are already aware that Surrey needs more transit, and I know they recognize this line as an infrastructure priority for our city. As a community, I think we’re pretty good at finding creative solutions to issues,” said Hepner. “This project isn’t an option for us. It’s going to happen, and if voters give me the chance, we’ll be riding light rail here in Surrey in 2018.”