British Columbia Premier John Horgan, left, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee listen to a question during a joint news conference Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, in Seattle. The two met earlier in the day to discuss regional issues and opportunities for collaboration between B.C. and Washington state. Horgan will give a formal address to the Washington state Legislature on Friday. Inslee addressed the British Columbia legislature in Victoria during a visit November 2017. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

High-speed rail from Seattle vision sees Surrey as end of the line

“Where it should be located,’ Surrey mayor says, ‘I don’t have a preference at this early stage’

Premier John Horgan says he envisions Surrey as the end of the line for a proposed high-speed rail project coming from Seattle.

But where that terminus would be located here remains a mystery.

“I agree with the premier that the high-speed rail terminus should connect to SkyTrain in Surrey,” Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum told the Now-Leader on Wednesday, in an emailed statement furnished by the Mayor’s Office.

The statement was sent after requests for an interview with the mayor were denied.

“When the next phase of SkyTrain is built to Newton and South Surrey there will be even more options for a terminus,” the statement continued.

“As to exactly where it should be located, I don’t have a preference at this early stage. However, I would be more than happy to work with Premier Horgan and Governor Inslee on how and where we can bring this project to Surrey.”

In a press conference south of the border with Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Thursday (Feb. 7), Horgan announced the province will kick in another $300,000 to help fund a study of a potential high-speed transportation service linking B.C., Washington and Oregon.

homelessphoto

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. (File photo)

Horgan said he envisions high-speed rail running from Seattle to the Lower Mainland, with a terminus in Surrey that would connect with SkyTrain and other public transportation infrastructure to take riders to Vancouver’s airport, the city’s downtown core and the Fraser Valley.

Horgan said the additional $300,000 is “to make the connectivity between our two jurisdictions a tangible, real thing.”

In March of 2018, B.C. contributed $300,000 for a business case analysis “to explore ridership levels, project delivery methods, cost and financing,” according to the news release.

The full results of the analysis are expected this summer.

Inslee added that a preliminary review has shown the rail link could generate 1.8 million riders in the first few years and Washington has contributed more than $3 million to the project.

“It’s based on an optimistic vision of the growth that we’re going to have in British Columbia and Washington,” he said.

“We are a world-class community across that border.”

Said McCallum, again in an emailed statement to the Now-Leader: “As SkyTrain expands in our city to Langley and in its next phase to Newton, Surrey is a natural fit and logical choice as the terminus for high speed rail.

“With Surrey as the terminus, the connectivity that the Premier speaks of is not only between the cities of Seattle and Vancouver but for the entire region. People from both Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley will be able to easily access high speed rail through our growing SkyTrain network.”

Almost nine years ago to the day, on Feb. 12, 2010, the governments of B.C., Washington, Oregon and California agreed to explore setting up a high-speed rail line between San Diego and Vancouver, under a Pacific Coast Collaborative chaired by then California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A memorandum was signed to develop Highway 99 and Interstate 5 into an uninterrupted “green” transportation corridor championing renewable fuels and the high-speed rail link.

Schwarzenegger and then B.C. Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell also vowed to build a “hydrogen highway” between California’s border with Mexico and Whistler which would see hydrogen fueling stations installed along the way. But the plan appears to have run out of gas.

Horgan, as a rookie MLA, had mocked the Liberals’ “hydrogen hype” and, in a column penned by Vaughn Palmer, was quoted as questioning why B.C. was “embarking on what could only be described as a bottomless pit of public subsidy for a technology that’s not yet proven.”

Time will tell if the upcoming study on this recently proposed high-speed international rail project will recommend that the trains be fuelled by hydrogen.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Herd of deer camp out in Yennadon front yard

Four bucks and two does rested under the shrubs of a Maple Ridge home Friday

Pitt Meadows technology to help grow leafy greens in Okanagan

Cubic Farms sold 16 of its machines to a company in Armstrong, B.C.

Maple Ridge mom wants justice on two-year anniversary of daughter’s death

Megan Kinnee, 19, died July 13, 2018 after motorcycle crash in Abbotsford

Maple Ridge neighbourhood rallies together for Saturday garage sale

Event aimed to bring Albion residents together – but not too close – while the financially strapped

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Fraser Valley loses the Keith Wilson Waver as Ron Hupper passes away

Hupper brought smiles to the faces of hundreds of people traveling Chilliwack’s Keith Wilson Road

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

Most Read