Re: Passenger rail needs teamwork (Our View, Dec. 27)
In the fifth paragraph, we read, “Southern Rail clearly wants financial help to repair its tracks.”
Southern Rail is simply “an operator” who also maintains the tracks according to joint decisions between that company and “our” Island Corridor Foundation.
Islanders need to know that our railway corridor is a public property, just like the highway. A group, composed of all Regional Districts and First Nations and known as the Island Corridor Foundation, is responsible for the property which belongs to you and to me.
Fact 1: A “massive cost” it is not; actually, it is the lowest-cost method of improving our Island transportation needs.
Fact 2: “Transportation” dollars go, virtually, only to highways and benefit only those who hold a driver licence. Citizens who do not own a vehicle or do not have a driver’s licence currently have virtually no viable public transportation service up and down the Island.
Having this railway in operation along its full length is an urgent need. May we repeat; It is our lowest-cost and easiest transportation option. With the line upgraded in its length, a number of local modern-vehicle commuter services could be instituted.
The line is in place. It simply needs upgrading. No additional property is needed. Costs? We would suggest that the railway option is one-fifth that of highway or better.
Many ask if the railway will pay for itself. In response, we say show us the profit/loss spreadsheet for a highway, the latter also being a public transportation corridor.
This is our railway. We are the ones who should be looking to our elected transportation authorities to take it on and fix it. Let’s not squabble over it; instead, let’s see to it that we rise up and do something for our very own Vancouver Island.