OUR VIEW: Railway taxes can’t continue

We say: A lot of questions about the train still require answers

At first glance, restoring passenger rail service on Vancouver Island is a positive move.

A well-run service would ease pressure on the heavily-used Malahat Drive and provide a more environmentally friendly transportation option, getting residents out of their cars.

But a lot of questions still don’t have answers, including whether the service is even viable on the Island.

The Regional District of Nanaimo gave preliminary approval this week to a request by the Island Corridor Foundation for a $945,000, one-time, grant-in-aid, contingent on Island Corridor Foundation’s ability to produce a solid commitment from VIA Rail to reinstate the passenger service.

The money is part of $20.4-million for railway upgrades that would allow a daily passenger service to run between Courtenay and Victoria.

The RDN is one of five regional districts along the railway corridor (which does not include the Strathcona Regional District) asked to pony up so work can get started on the upgrades.

Three have already approved their portion of the contribution.

On top of regional district contributions, the provincial and federal governments have kicked in $15 million collectively, the rail operator is paying $500,000 and the foundation would pursue financing from lenders for the remaining $2.2 million.

The Island Corridor Foundation is asking taxpayers to invest in passenger rail, but the question remains whether the Island has enough people willing to use this service to make it a viable business venture in the long-term.

And is this the end of the money train?

Current funds would bring the track up to safety standards for the next 10 years, but then what?

The foundation needs to show this is a solid business, one that taxpayers won’t be continually asked to subsidize.

– Black Press

Just Posted

Families learn to navigate the perils of the Internet

Speaker talks to Campbell River kids, parents about staying safe in a social media world

‘Priceless’ hat stolen from Indigenous art store in Campbell River during break-in

Ernie Smith, co-owner of Awatin Aboriginal Art, looking for help in recovering stolen hat

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

BC Hydro increasing flow down Elk Falls to assist steelhead migration and spawning

Water flows within Elk Falls Canyon are increasing today to assist steelhead… Continue reading

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

VIDEO: Massive elk herd runs across Washington State highway

Elk have been making an appearance in the Pacific Northwest

BREAKING: Woman, off-duty cop stabbed outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

Winter storm freezes U.S., halts air travel

Storm dumps snow or heavy rain, snarls travel in much of U.S.

Gwyneth Paltrow: Skier sued me to exploit my fame, wealth

The incident happened in Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Missing Surrey snowshoer caught in avalanche found dead on Vancouver mountain

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Most Read