SkyTrain expansion delays a 'punch in the gut,' say proponents
The Surrey portion of TransLink's upcoming SkyTrain extension will not be opening in 2025 as originally planned, frustrating proponents who have already been waiting on the project for years.
The SkyTrain extension into Langley City was initially going to be built and launched in two phases, but the project is now slated to open as a whole in 2028.
New Westminster Mayor Jonathon Cote, chair of TransLink's Mayors' Council, called the updated timeline "more realistic."
“We’re looking to be able to deliver the project by 2028 now and deliver that as one full project all the way to Langley,” Cote said in an interview with CTV News.
He said there are a couple reasons for the changes, including the impact of the pandemic.
“COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the work plan of TransLink, and no doubt in 2020 particularly had an impact on the financial situation of TransLink and has delayed the Mayor’s Council ability to approve an investment plan,” he said.
SkyTrain proponents are disappointed.
“It’s a little bit of a punch in the gut to hear we’re going to be waiting seven years from today to get the line open,” said Daryl Del Cruz, who is with Skytrain for Surrey.
“SkyTrain for Surrey has been pushing for this expansion for the entirety of the last decade,” he explained.
Surrey’s mayor called reports of the delays “disconcerting,” and said it's time to get shovels in the ground.
Mayor Doug McCallum declined an interview with CTV News, but issued a statement saying in part that it "has been close to 30 years since the last rapid transit expansion in Surrey. For a city that is home to close to 600,000 people, rapid transit is long overdue and is of critical need now.”
But Cote said the changed timeline should not come as a surprise to McCallum.
“The mayor of Surrey has been working with the Mayor’s Council for the past few years and is well aware of all of the issues that we’ve been facing,” Cote said.
SkyTrain proponents want the Fleetwood portion of the line opened while the Langley portion is still being built. It’s not clear if that will happen.
The 16-kilometre expansion from Surrey to Langley City is expected to cost about $3.95 billion.