Desmond assures Surrey, ‘TransLink is going to be here for you’

TransLink’s CEO said that if Surrey prevails with its plan to build SkyTrain instead of light rail, the transit authority will do its best to deliver rapid transit as soon as possible.

“What I want to say to the people of Surrey is TransLink is going to be here for you, whatever our policy makers decide,” Kevin Desmond said at a Greater Vancouver Board of Trade event on Thursday.

This week, Surrey council passed a motion to stop the $1.65-billion Surrey-Newton-Guildford at-grade light-rail line and start work on a SkyTrain line from King George station to Langley City. Cancelling the light-rail project was a campaign promise of Mayor Doug McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition.

City of Surrey staff have already shifted their focus to SkyTrain and TransLink has stopped its work on light rail, including the request for quotations process.

“One way or the other, we’re going to build rail in Surrey at TransLink and we’re going to do it as effectively and as quickly as is practical,” Desmond said.

Desmond said TransLink is awaiting direction from the Mayors’ Council and the TransLink board of directors. At the Mayors’ Council meeting on Nov. 15, McCallum plans to seek a change in the wording in the 10-year regional plan, removing references to light rail and replacing them with SkyTrain.

The municipal election resulted in a huge turnover of mayors in the region — 16 new mayors and a new Electoral Area A director — which means the 23-member Mayors’ Council will be mostly new faces.

Desmond said the progress and transportation investment that have been made over the past couple of years couldn’t have happened without consensus among elected officials, and so many new members will pose a challenge for staff and mayors.

“As far as I know, it hasn’t had that type of turnover of mayors in this region …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

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