The following letter, printed in the Surrey Leader, from Mr. Holt from the Valley Transportation Advisory Committee is most welcome and shows the growing support for the RftV/Leewood Report for a TramTrain service in the Fraser Valley, using existing railway infrastructure.
Don’t dismiss South-of-Fraser transit
The recent announcement by TransLink, concerning the Surrey Rapid Transit Study, dismissed the Interurban corridor as having no role to play in solving the region’s transit problems.
During the workshops held in Surrey, participants found it difficult to understand why such a wonderful public asset and low-cost option was so easily cast aside.
TransLink staff seemed to be struggling to find a reason too. So much so, that in the closing summary, the very person who spoke to the media, dismissing the Interurban corridor, was suggesting that a sober second look be in order. A sober second look is exactly what is needed.
Premier Campbell’s preferred option of a SkyTrain extension to Langley City will cost over $2 billion or about $125 million per kilometre in today’s dollars.
He appears to be a lone voice advocating this Cadillac option. Surrey’s Mayor Watts, Langley Township Mayor Green and many others were certainly not taken in by this shameless ploy to insert a 20-year delay clause into creating “beyond the bus” transit options for South of Fraser taxpayers.
With an additional 650,000 residents already starting to flow into the South of Fraser region, the need to influence future land use, by modifying community plans and implementing critically needed transit improvements, is now.
TransLink’s previous attempts to hoist a transit master plan on the South of Fraser have fallen far short of what is needed for a region scheduled to grow from today’s 850,000 to over 1.5 million by 2040.
With no master plan we are being forced to make risky decisions, or are we?
If there are options available that involve minimal cost, little disruption to current traffic flow, and speedy delivery, are these not worth exploring first?
This is what many local rail advocacy groups are pleading for.
The recent, very credible, report commissioned by Rail for the Valley from UK transport consultants clearly comes to the conclusion that the publicly owned interurban rail corridor is exactly this low risk option. Langley Township’s Mayor Green and his South Fraser Community Rail Task Force of elected representatives have a similar view promoting a passenger rail demonstration project for the line.
Rail based solutions can be a vital part of future South-of-Fraser transit options and they don’t need to cost billions or spend any time on the shelf. The time for action is now.
Valley Transportation Advisory Committee