Prime Minister Stephen Harper has conditionally green-lighted federal funding for the long-awaited $1.4 billion Evergreen rapid transit line for B.C.'s Tri-Cities area during his visit to Vancouver Thursday morning.

Speaking from TransLink's maintenance centre in Burnaby, Harper says the federal government will contribute up to $350 million once project details are finalized.

"This project will create thousands of well paying construction jobs, ease congestion and free up roads in the Lower Mainland," Harper said.

"By looking forward today and investing in key infrastructure this will help us get through these tough economic times and make our country even stronger in the future."

The federal government has already contributed $67 million towards the project. The B.C. government has put forward $410 million, along with another $400 million from TransLink.

Premier Gordon Campbell says the B.C. government will match every federal partnership dollar in upcoming infrastructure project in British Columbia.

"This will help us shape our region as we watch the northeast sector grow and become an even more important part of our region," he said.

"It will help us shape cities and communities and cities that are of critical importance as we move ahead."

Despite today's federal funding announcement, the project still falls short of its projected costs. TransLink will still need to come up with an additional $173 million to cover the transit expansion. It has not been announced how the company will fund the extra costs.

The Evergreen line will run an 11-kilometre Northwest route linking Burnaby and Coquitlam and is slated for completion by 2014.

Campbell says the line will have the capacity to carry up to 10,000 passengers an hour, and will take 60,000 cars off the roads by 2020.

The Evergreen Line was cited as part of the provincial government's wish list given to federal Transport Minister John Baird back in December.

The Evergreen line is part of a $14 billion plan for transit developments in the next 12 years, including extending the SkyTrain to the University of British Columbia and the Expo Line to Surrey, as well as more funding for the Canada Line on the Cambie Street Corridor.

TransLink approved the project in 2004.