NDP promises commuter rail to the Fraser Valley, but timeline remains fuzzy

Tuesday’s throne speech declares HOV lanes and commuter rail coming to Fraser Valley

Commuter rail for the Fraser Valley is on the way, the provincial government declared in Tuesday’s throne speech, but it remains unclear if locals will have to wait years – or decades – to see such promises come to fruition.

The Throne Speech included a section on how the provincial government is working on a “long-term vision for transit and transportation in the Lower Mainland.”

The speech continued: “British Columbians can look forward to more options like rapid transit, HOV lanes and commuter rail out to the Fraser Valley, and high-speed rail connections with our neighbours to the south.”

Pressed for more details, the province’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure sent an emailed statement to The News that primarily focused on planning work currently underway by TransLink and the province.

“TransLink, as part of a long-term regional transportation strategy (Transport 2050), is exploring a range of options to improve the movement of people and goods across the region,” the province’s email said. “Through both direct discussions and as part of TransLink’s Transport 2050 consultations, we are also engaging leaders from Fraser Valley communities and BC Transit in building a longer-term plan for transit.”

The province also pointed to work being done to build HOV lanes in Langley from 202nd to 264th Street. The statement doesn’t give an indication as to whether commuter rail to Abbotsford is a short- or long-term priority. But Mayor Henry Braun said he hopes to see the province set aside funding for such projects soon.

“That caught my eye as well,” Braun told The News. “We are, as a city, encouraged by the direction that has been indicated in the Throne Speech, and I’m very much looking forward to the budget next week to see how the province intends to action those directions.”

Last month, Braun called for the province to borrow billions of dollars to build a rail link between Abbotsford and the rest of the Lower Mainland. Braun has also repeatedly called on the province to widen Highway 1 to address the increasingly frequent traffic jams between Abbotsford and Langley.

RELATED: Borrow $8 billion for Fraser Valley rail link, Abbotsford mayor urges province

Geoff Meggs, the chief of staff to Premier John Horgan, has promised to meet with Braun to specifically discuss a possible rapid transit link in the Fraser Valley.

RELATED: Abbotsford mayor to discuss rapid transit link with Premier’s chief of staff

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