TransLink is blaming inflation, skyrocketing real estate prices and the weak Canadian dollar for massive increases in the estimated costs of some of its biggest transit projects.

The cost estimate for the Millennium Line Broadway expansion has ballooned from $1.98-billion in 2015 up to $2.83 billion, according to numbers released Monday. The first 10.5-kilometres of Surrey's Light Rail Transit system is now estimated at $1.65 billion, up from $1.03 billion three years ago.

CEO Kevin Desmond said a lot has happened since 2015, the year Metro Vancouver residents rejected a referendum to help fund those projects and others through a 0.5 per cent sales tax hike.

"Both of these projects require significant amounts of property acquisition, and as everyone knows property values have increased dramatically in this region compared to when these projects were conceived in the 2014 period," Desmond said.

The comparably strong U.S. dollar also played a role, according to Desmond, because much of the projects' materials are purchased internationally.

The hundreds of millions in increases aren't quite as dramatic when factoring in inflation, the CEO added. Desmond said the Broadway SkyTrain line's cost only increased by about $550 million in 2018 dollars, and the LRT project increased by about $440 million.

"The Millennium Line project, on an apples to apples (comparison), has gone up by about 24 per cent," Desmond told reporters.

There's some good news as well. The previous estimate was developed on the assumption that TransLink would be receiving less federal funding, forcing Metro Vancouver to contribute 52 per cent of the costs. Now the federal and provincial governments are ponying up 68 per cent of the costs, leaving just 32 for the region.

"We're in a good place now where we've done rigorous work, we have full support from all levels of government in this region to move forward with a long-awaited transit program," Desmond said.

TransLink's updated figures were shared as part of an update on Phase 2 of its 10-year plan, which also promises over 100 new SkyTrain cars, various service improvements and road and cycling upgrades.

The Millennium Line expansion, which will consist of six new stations from VCC-Clark to Arbutus Street, is expected to be completed in 2025, while Surrey’s LRT project has projected launch in 2024.