Region’s benefits, burdens shared

At first thought, it is fair for Esquimalt and Langford to pay part of the cost of having a rail line across Victoria’s fancy new bridge, as their residents might use it to avoid the cost of driving into Victoria.

Esquimalt, of course, also benefits from the naval base and dockyards, which aren’t all near the tracks, whose workers might use the train (There are no stations in Colwood and View Royal, and the tracks don’t go near Sooke, Highlands or Saanich, so the only benefit to their residents is reduced congestion on the major routes).

But doesn’t Victoria get taxes from the offices and stores that people are coming into downtown to work at and do business with, and from the tourist business?

What is that worth to Victoria politicians, who have got themselves in a bind with their game-playing?

If the Capital Regional District is really serious about reducing idling of vehicles, it should want the benefit of commuter trains, as the fuel consumption and emissions from vehicles moving slowly on Island Highway and the Trans-Canada Highway rise. The CRD’s income comes out of everyone’s pockets anyway.

Then there are the places further out, especially Cobble Hill and Duncan, where many workers live. Should they pay as they get taxes from those workers? What about the provincial government, which is responsible for the freeway that will be helped somewhat if commuters take to the train? Is the E&N a helpful route in case the Malahat sustains major damage in the next earthquake?

Seems to me the full picture is not being considered.

Keith Sketchley

Saanich

 

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