SkyTrain for Surrey, not LRT!


Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT to result in societal and economic loss for region

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 18, 2018 – Surrey, BC

Business case documents released by TransLink confirm that the burden of paying for the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT will not justify the economic investment, validating concerns held by many locals.

SNG LRT Benefit-cost ratioSNG LRT net present value
0.7-$316 million

According to the SNG LRT business case document on TransLink’s website, the $1.65 billion Surrey-Newton-Guildford light rail transit will have a benefit-cost ratio of 0.7. This is based on a (discounted) cost of $1.04 billion, and discounted total benefits of just $722 million, resulting in a net present value of -$316 million.

A number below 1.0 means that for every dollar invested in a project, less than a dollar’s worth of benefit to society is realized from it. As the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT is a negative value project, it will result in a societal and economic loss for both the City of Surrey and the Metro Vancouver region.

Benefit-cost ratio highlighted on page 53 of the SNG LRT Business Case

This is not the first time that Surrey’s vision for street-level light rail has been given a poor score. LRT proposals for Surrey have a long history of scoring poorly in cost-benefit studies.

In 2012, TransLink examined different rapid transit options for Surrey, examining a combination of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT), and SkyTrain alignments. In this study, the LRT options performed the worst in both the multiple account evaluation and cost-benefit analysis, against SkyTrain and BRT alternatives. All of the LRT alternatives had benefit cost-ratios below 1.0.

In November 2017, an independent study from the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary deemed Surrey’s proposed LRT a mistake given the poor value it will create for passengers and taxpayers. Mario Iacobacci, PhD – the author of this study – was critical of the lack of cost-benefit scrutiny brought to major public transit projects, not just in Metro Vancouver but all across Canada.

He noted that the ground-level LRT system for Surrey “is expected to destroy value”, and recommended that the Surrey-Newton-Guildford line be built as a less costly Bus Rapid Transit system instead.

About SkyTrain for Surrey

SkyTrain for Surrey is the community organization that advocated for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension, and continues to push for high-quality rapid transit projects in Surrey and Langley. We began as a petition calling for the scrapping of a street-level LRT proposal, which eventually amassed more than 6,000 signatures, and later contributed to making SkyTrain an election issue as a registered third-party advertiser. SkyTrain for Surrey continues to call for high-quality projects that offer a positive return-on-investment and recognize the rapidly increasing demand for transit.

Media Contact:

Daryl Dela Cruz ​– Founder, SkyTrain for Surrey
Phone: +1 604 329 3529, [email protected]

Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT to result in societal and economic loss for region