Light rail price tag needs a second look

Re: Don’t believe costs for light rapid transit, Letters, Sept. 2, 2011.

Re: Don’t believe costs for light rapid transit, Letters, Sept. 2, 2011.

Louis Guilbault’s letter underscores the need for a review of the proposed costs for the Victoria regional light rapid transit.

As he notes, at $62 million per kilometre (about $100 million per mile), its cost is vastly greater than most similar systems in the U.S.

According to an article on the website cited by Guilbault ( called “On Reducing Costs for LRT”:

“The large majority of light rail lines like Norfolk’s (at $46 million per mile) will come in at less than $100 million per mile, most between $50 and $70 million per mile. Streetcar lines, running in shared automobile lanes, are a bit cheaper.”

Victoria’s proposed cost is about $100 million per mile — at the extreme end of the range of costs. The question is why so high for Victoria?

Are there construction scenarios for the same route and technology that cost less? Plan B? Plan C?

An independent review of  costs and alternate cost scenarios are needed to answer these questions.

John Olson





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