Agenda Index City of Vancouver



Vancouver City Council


Richmond/Airport-Vancouver Rapid Transit Project Manager in consultation with the Director of City Plans and General Manager of Engineering Services


Vancouver/Airport - Richmond Rapid Transit Project
Progress Report on Phase 2 of Richmond/Airport-Vancouver Rapid Transit Study





On September 14, 2000, Council approved the City's participation in the joint planning process for the Richmond/Airport-Vancouver and the Management Plan as a basis for the City's participation.


The purpose of this report is to provide an update of the progress to date on the Richmond/Airport-Vancouver Rapid Transit Project and outline the work plan for the balance of Phase 2.

This report is prepared with the concurrence of the Steering Committee of the Richmond/Vancouver-Airport Rapid Transit Project.


At its September 14, 2000 meeting the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment approved the City's participation in a joint planning process to consider whether there is a need to build - and the potential to fund - a rapid transit line connecting Richmond, the Airport, and downtown Vancouver in the next 10 years.

Council approved recommendations endorsing:

· The Project Management Plan, which provides for a Project Team that works for and reports to the eight project partners -- TransLink, Transport Canada, Vancouver International Airport Authority, Province of BC, City of Richmond, City of Vancouver, GVRD, and Vancouver Port Authority; and

· The City's participation in Phase 2 of the Project, in particular for staff participation on the Project Steering Committee and Technical Committee, each comprised of representatives from each partner agency.

Transport Canada and the Airport have provided funding for Phase 2 of the Project.

The agreement of the project partners to the Management Plan represented Phase 1 of the Project. Phase 2 will take place over six months, from October 2000 to March 2001. During Phase 2, the various agencies will determine whether there is a need, and potential to fund, a rapid transit line in the corridor in the next 10 years.

This report provides an update of the progress to date and outlines the work plan for the balance of Phase 2.


1. Facilities and Project Team Staffing

2. Work Plan

· An evaluation to compare the costs and benefits of building the line by 2010 versus a later date and communicating the conclusions of that analysis and consulting with decision makers, key stakeholders, and the community;

· Seeking public sector funding, in particular from the Federal Government; and

· Exploring the potential for private sector involvement.

Phase 2 will take place over six months (October, 2000 to March, 2001). All work plan items are well underway. Further information on the work items follows.


In evaluating the various transit development scenarios the Project Team and its consultants will use a "Multiple Account Evaluation" model developed by a number of provincial government agencies as a means of evaluating capital projects. The model will be tailored to suit this project. In this phase, we are not comparing alternative technologies and routes, nor are we recommending a preferred route or technology. Rather, the comparison is one of timing. The evaluation framework is designed to measure the merits of three transit development scenarios - rail transit with an in-service date of 2010, as compared to in-service dates of 2021 and 2030. To make these comparisons, the Project Team will use a "base case" which assumes bus and road improvements included in current agency plans, and includes estimates of congestion.

The evaluation will include a series of "accounts" or "bundles" of costs and benefits, including financial, urban development, environmental, social, and consumer. These separate bundles will allow each of the eight agencies to review, from their perspective, the costs and benefits of the implementation scenarios. The consulting contract for this work will be awarded in mid December, 2000 with completion of the work anticipated by mid February, 2001.

City staff have been involved in the specification of the framework and have provided input regarding the methodology and the inclusion and definition of the accounts and performance indicators.


While the evaluation work is proceeding the Project Team will develop a program to communicate the vision for the region and this corridor, and the role of transportation in that vision. This work, and the evaluation, will form the basis of a communication and public consultation program. Some informal information meetings have, or will soon be, taking place (e.g., meetings with Urban Development Institute, Board of Trade members, Richmond Chamber of Commerce Transportation Task Force, key community groups). Theformal program will begin in December 2000 and continue through March 2001. The program will involve a web site, open houses, meetings with key stakeholder groups, quantitative surveys, and focus groups.

In Vancouver, the Project Team is holding an informal, early meeting with representatives of community groups active in this corridor in the past. The purpose of the meeting is to provide them with a sense of the approach to the evaluation, and to hear from them as to how they would like to be involved as the work progresses over the next few months. The early meetings will assist Project staff to develop the public consultation program. The consultation program will likely include the formation of a Public Advisory Committee to assist the Project team to deliver an effective consultation program.

Public Sector Funding

The Project Team is communicating with federal officials to express its appreciation for their commitment to fund this phase and to explain the unique characteristics of the Project that warrant federal investment in the development of a rapid transit connection. These features include:

· the unique partnership among all levels of government, the Airport, and the Port;
· the fact that the line will link two key federal facilities, the Airport and the Port, both of which are expanding;
· the Airport's commitment to fund a significant portion of the project;
· the opportunity to implement important federal environment and transportation policies - including the commitment to improve air quality in urban regions, the commitment to reduce greenhouse gases, and the commitment to sustainable transportation in the region; and
· the national role of the region as Canada's Pacific Gateway, and the importance of infrastructure in the region's efforts to remain competitive with US Pacific port cities, many of which are receiving significant investments in transportation from the US federal government.

The Project Team will continue to discuss the project with federal officials and other agencies, and will work closely with TransLink staff in their ongoing efforts to encourage the federal government to invest in transportation in the region.

Private Sector Participation

The Project Team is exploring the potential to involve the private sector in a public private partnership (PPP), noting that this approach may offer an opportunity to build transportation infrastructure in a time of constrained funding. Thus far, TransLink has sponsored a workshop at which the key members of the public and private sector met to discuss the implementation of major road and rapid transit projects in Canada and elsewhere in the world. Few large PPP transportation projects have occurred in Canada (notable exceptions include Confederation Bridge and Highway 407 in Toronto). However, transportationprojects using private sector expertise in design, construction and financing are widely used in the UK, South America and Australia. Advisors to government and the private sector in these transportation projects attended the workshop.

The Project Team presented this project at the workshop. TransLink presented another potential project to build a bridge to replace the Albion ferry. TransLink is retaining an advisor to provide early advice on the potential to involve the private sector in these projects. This early advice will be valuable for the Richmond/Airport-Vancouver Project for three reasons:

· to ensure that the work in this phase (in particular the financial evaluation) is done with a view to the future potential involvement of a private sector partner;
· to gain a better understanding of the potential to involve the private sector; and
· to understand the ways in which the Project Team can structure a public-private partnership for this project.


The work plan for Phase 2 of the Richmond/Airport-Vancouver Rapid Transit Project is well underway. This phase is devoted to an assessment of the need to build rapid transit in this corridor in the next 10 years and a determination of funding capacity. The work will involve technical investigations and public consultation. Between now and February 2001, the Project Team will complete its technical work and engage in a communication and consultation program. Concurrently, the Team will be communicating with federal officials about the Project with a view to a significant federal investment. The Project Team will also continue to explore the potential to involve the private sector.

City staff are supportive of the progress to date of the Richmond/Airport-Vancouver Rapid Transit Study. Further reports will be presented to advise Council on the progress of the study and to seek input and direction as the study progresses.

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