TransLink will begin public consultation in late January on two new train lines planned for Metro Vancouver, the transit authority announced today.
Consultations on the Broadway extension of the Millennium Line will begin Jan. 28.
Consultations on the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT project will begin Jan. 24.
The regional transit authority also says it will be doubling SeaBus service on Sundays and holidays and adding more frequent service at peak times on the Expo, Millennium and Canada lines as part of the first phase of its 10-year plan.
TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said the service improvements announced today are the first of many the transit authority plans to roll out every three months for the next few years.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said the plan is the biggest investment in regional transit since 2009, when the Canada Line was built.
"This is really comprehensive improvement around the region," Robertson said. "That's why the mayors supported it so strongly, because it will make a difference in every community across Metro Vancouver."
Millennium Line extended out Broadway
The Broadway Extension will extend the Millennium Line from its current VCC endpoint southwest to Broadway and Main, and then west to Arbutus Street.
Previously officials had proposed extending the line all the way west to UBC, but Desmond said it was important to relieve pressure on the 99 B-Line route as soon as possible.
"Will rail eventually get to UBC? I'd say that's probably a good chance," Desmond told reporters at a press conference Tuesday. "When? I don't know. But for now, we need to get to Arbutus [and] relieve a lot of crowding on the bus service."
Robertson said the Metro Vancouver Mayors' Council's 10-year vision does include the possibility of extending that line to UBC, but planning would not begin until near the end of that 10-year vision.
No cash yet from feds, province
Representatives from the provincial and federal governments praised the 10-year regional transit plan, but did not give any hard numbers on how much their governments would be contributing, as they have yet to review the projects in detail.
Jonathan Wilkinson, parliamentary secretary to the minister of environment and climate change and the MP for North Vancouver, said regional rapid transit projects are not just issues of transportation and economy, but also provide good environmental outcomes.
"I would see strong support [from the federal government] for phase two as the additional detail is flushed out," Wilkinson said.
Representatives from both governments suggested that further funding specifics would be included in their forthcoming 2017 budgets.
With files from Yvette Brend.