by Ray Hudson
Surrey: Mayor Linda Hepner, Vice Chair of the Mayor’s Council was asked if Surrey would press ahead with her plans to build a Light Rail system in Surrey, as promised in her election platform and a number of times following her election.
She confirmed her intention to starting with a light rail surface line, to run from Surrey Centre to Newton Centre along the King George Blvd.
“The regional growth strategy in its current form cannot be done without major improvements to the transportation network. Surrey and its rail project has got to move forward,” she stated. “I have had interested parties, private parties, speak to me about financing that project and I continue to expect the provincial and federal governments, as we’re through a screening process already, to be prepared to fund that project. I may have to look at those private partners much like the Canada Line did, in terms of build, design, operate and maintain.”
“I cannot expect to have those million people arrive here,” she added, referring to projections that another million people will move to the Lower Mainland of BC, “many of them south of the Fraser without improvements to the South of Fraser system and I am committed to that rail project even given the disappointing results today.”
“This is a rail project that will connect the communities of Surrey, and be a major addition to an already existing bus network as well, so I need that rail project to go forward in its current form,” she concluded.