November 3, 2008

Plan released for rail transit across Surrey

Transit for Tomorrow planSURREY – Surrey City Council candidate Paul Hillsdon announced today the centrepiece of his campaign — the Transit for Tomorrow plan. The plan, designed specifically to meet the growing transport demands of the South Fraser area (Surrey, Langley, Delta, and White Rock), would vastly expand the rapid transit system, with no need for local property tax increases or fare hikes.

“The Transit for Tomorrow plan begins to fix our woefully inadequate transit with fiscal prudence during these times of economic hardship. Construction of the lines will boost the local economy and create jobs, while addressing our transport, health and environment issues all at the same time,” said Hillsdon.

The Transit for Tomorrow plan is based on the thesis of getting more for less. It calls on the Provincial government to shift $1.1 billion dollars promised for 6 km of SkyTrain in Surrey, to instead fund a 43.4 km light rail network across Surrey and Langley.

Light rail, as was initially proposed for the Evergreen Line in Coquitlam, is a well used transit technology around the world. Light rail runs at street-level with priority over other road vehicles. It costs $27 million per km, almost five times less than the cost of SkyTrain. Light rail systems exist in Calgary, Edmonton, Seattle, Portland, and Sacramento, among other world cities.

The light rail network as proposed would be composed of three lines – the King George line, the 200th line, and the Interurban line. The network would connect Surrey City Centre and the Expo Line SkyTrain with Newton, Guildford, Cloverdale, Langley City, Willowbrook, Willoughby, and Walnut Grove.

An expanded Rapid bus network would extend the reach of the region’s transit network and would add communities such as White Rock, Abbotsford, and Maple Ridge to the rapid transit system.

Hillsdon challenged civic candidates from across the South Fraser area to endorse the plan: “I call on all civic candidates in Surrey, the Langleys, Delta, and White Rock to let it be known whether or not they support the Transit for Tomorrow plan, and whether they too would pressure the Provincial government to redirect its funding promise from SkyTrain to light rail technology.”

The Transit for Tomorrow plan can be downloaded from Hillsdon’s campaign website at