The mayor of the downtown mainland spoke unequivocally on Thursday to continue working on the design and business scenario for the Surrey-to-Langley SkyTrain line, despite concerns about the desirability of continuing a line that has only half the required funding.
Surrey's mayor Doug McCallum, rarely moved to a meeting of regional mayors at a transit office, deployed a frequently used tactic of weighing votes – if the vote is calculated not only by the direct number of 23 members of the council, but also based on the relative population of each city – in order to block other measures to combat the staffing plan.
He received support from mayors of Vancouver, Delta, and the city of Langley, which was sufficient to attract and overcome other measures.
The town and district's North Vancouver, Richmond, West Vancouver, Pitt Meadow, Belkara and Anmor mayors and councils expressed concern about the project being diverted if it is not clear how much of it could invest 1.6 billion dollars, which was approved already abandoned railway line.
Mr McCallum says that the whole amount can be built on that amount, but TransLink staff say it is unlikely.
"We need to determine where we will have to raise money in excess of $ 1.6 billion before we approve anything," said Dugs Little from North Vancouver County.
But TransLink's chairman and vice chair Jonathan Coté of New Westminster and Jack Froese of Langley City stressed that TransLink would always want to find out where it's going to get money from the 10-year Phase 3 transit plan.
Surrey needed to get $ 3.5 billion from a total funding of $ 7.5 billion, in which all three levels of government spending were invested only in the first two steps.
Since McCallum's decision, after being elected in October, has been ruined by the time of planning and consensus. The mayor said on Thursday that they wanted Surrey's commitment to repay $ 56 million spent on preparing a light rail project.
And some questioned whether the residents of Surrey really supported the sudden change in transit plans.
Mr McCallum insisted they did it.
"I can assure you that the people in the Surrey region are mostly supportive of SkyTrain, and the other parties have been campaigning for light railways. The results of the election are a referendum on what kind of system the Surrey population wants," he said.
Mr. McCallum was elected with 41 percent of the vote, which was handed over to Surrey last October, while the low-profile election meant only 13.5 percent of the voting rights supported him.
A vote by the Transit Agency means it will continue to spend 20 million and 15 months to explore line design and construction issues, and to develop a business plan that would allow federal and provincial governments to take over the money committed to a pre-approved light rail link .
TransLink will also stop plans for launching a high-speed bus through the Fraser highway from September next year, as it could operate just three years before launching the SkyTrain line.
Mr McCallum continues to say that the 16-kilometer line can be built on the already existing $ 1.6 billion worth.
But Mr Coté said that it is unlikely that the line could go much further than Fleetwood or Clayton Heights neighborhoods on the east side of Surrey.
TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said employees expect the price to be $ 2.9 billion, according to an earlier estimate.
He noted that the Evergreen Line, a 11-kilometer line built at $ 1.4 billion, adopted building prices more than five years ago, when construction costs were significantly lower.
Thursday's vote does not mean that the mayors have confirmed the new position, just because they have empowered employees to continue work and plan work.