B.C. Premier Christy Clark says the provincial government will find $30 million for a new rapid transit line through an audit of TransLink — an announcement that appeared to catch transit officials by surprise.

Clark made the statement Wednesday at a news conference in Port Moody Thursday after announcing two byelections for April 19.

"There’s still a funding gap for the Evergreen Line, $30 million," Clark said. "And we are going to find it through an audit of TransLink."

The $1.4 billion Evergreen rapid transit line, similar to SkyTrain and the Canada Line, has been promised for years but has repeatedly been postponed due to funding problems.

The most recent forecast predicted the line would open by the summer of 2016.

TransLink seemed to be caught off guard by Clark’s remarks.

A spokesperson declined to do an interview with CBC News, saying transit officials hadn't been contacted by the Premier's office about the audit and needed to clarify just what she said.

Clark said it’s not necessary charge more user fees if the money can be found in the transit authority’s budget, which was more than $1.35 billion in 2010, the last year reported.  

"We are not going to find it through a vehicle levy, or other sources. We are going to find it within TransLink," the premier said.

Metro Vancouver mayors have been pushing for an audit so they don't have to raise property taxes.


With files from the CBC's Ben Hadaway