New UBC-Vancouver subway line proposed
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and UBC President Stephen Toope are urging Translink to move ahead on a proposal for a new subway line along the Broadway Corridor.
Robertson is proposing to burrow a tunnel between Commercial Drive and University of British Columbia, through Point Grey, at an estimated cost of $2.8 billion.
He hopes the new line would relieve congested bus traffic on the Broadway Corridor, used by 100,000 people every day to travel between UBC and downtown Vancouver.
Mayor Gregor Robertson says a subway is the only way to address the current volume of passengers, and the growth he expects in the future.
However, Robertson acknowledges, his proposal is in direct competition with a project out of Surrey, which is campaigning to build three light rail transit lines south of the Fraser River.
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts says the province needs to devise a plan to fund both projects. Robertson agrees.
"They are very different systems and needs, but both are urgent for the whole region to succeed," he said.
It is not yet clear how Robertson's proposal for the Broadway Corridor would be funded.
UBC, which claims to bring $10 billion to the B.C. economy each year, has not offered any funding for the project.
UBC President Stephen Toope compared the project to the Canada Line, which was constructed along the Cambie Corridor to service the Vancouver airport.
"We are not in the same position, for example, as the Vancouver airport. We don't have taxing authority and nor do we have necessarily the ability to impose user fees."
Gordon Price of SFU's City Program argues it's unlikely both projects will proceed at the same time, particularly without a financial commitment from UBC.
"UBC says that they are really not prepared to contribute, that their resources go to education. However, it is also a real estate developer and it would get significant advantage from a rail line to UBC," he said.
"I think realistically it has to be prepared to be at the table."
With files from the CBC's Emily Elias.