B.C. Transit recommends light rail for Capital Region

Full start-up costs estimated at $950 million

Electric light-rail rapid transit is B.C. Transit’s recommended choice for the future of moving people between Victoria and the West Shore.

Construction of a fully built light-rail system would cost about $950 million, including the right-of-way, track and electrical systems, stations and vehicles.

Total cost for the life of the system, including capital and operating expenses, is estimated at $1.2 billion.

Depending on if and how the price tag can be shared between the municipalities, the province and the federal government, Greater Victoria residential property owners could be required to pay an additional $130 to $265 for the new system each year. They currently pay $92.50 for transit, though that will increase to $120.50 starting May 15.

Business owners would face a sharper increase of between $1,300 and $2,650, depending on the funding formula. They currently pay $356 annually for transit, though that is also going to jump by $28.

Transit is currently covered by fares, the province, property taxes, fuel taxes and advertising. However, the transit company is not ruling out exploring other methods to offset project costs.

Transit officials say the two other regional transit options that were considered – bus rapid transit and maintaining the status quo – would also be expensive. Bus rapid transit start-up costs are estimated at $520 million, and $250 million would be needed to maintain the current transit system.

A new bus rapid transit system would be cheaper in the short term, say transit officials, but anticipate it would be at capacity after 10 to 15 years and require replacement with light rail.

B.C. Transit’s recommendation, kept under tight wraps until Tuesday afternoon, is an important next step in bringing rapid transit to the traffic-burdened region. Last October key municipalities along the rapid-transit corridor endorsed the right-of-way route, including Victoria, Saanich, View Royal, Colwood and Langford.

There would be stations in downtown Victoria and at Uptown in Saanich. The electric train would run along a track next to the Trans-Canada Highway to the 6 Mile/Colwood interchange, along Island Highway in View Royal to Colwood, continue along Goldstream Avenue before reaching its final Station Avenue stop in Langford.

There is still a check list of things to do before B.C. Transit’s rapid transit business case is completed.

To solicit community feedback, the plan will be presented in detail during two public open houses May 4 and 5.

The light-rail transit plan is expected to go before the B.C. Transit board of directors and the Victoria Regional Transit Commission in May. If approved, the business case would be submitted in June for the province’s consideration.

– more to come

 emccracken@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Number of SD62 kindergarten registrations about same as last year

Approximately 850 kindergarten registrations for 2019/2020 school year

28 years later: Dunahee disappearance remains largest investigation in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

City of Langford mails out information on sewer connection requirement

Plan lays out obligations, exemptions and financial assistance information for the costly hookup

Update: BC Transit driver taken to hospital with serious injuries after assault

Driver attempted to stop an altercation between two people on the bus

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Most Read