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

UPDATE: Fast-burning construction materials fuelled Willow Point blaze – fire chief

Curious onlookers created challenges for emergency crews; fundraising effort underway for family

UPDATED: Zeballos wildfire not getting any closer to town – BC Wildfire Service

About 64 wildfires burning north of Campbell River on Tuesday

Strathcona Regional District wants water meters for northern Area D

Meters just part of plan, along with education and enforcement, to reduce use

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Forest fuel work needed to slow wildfires, B.C. premier says

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan joins John Horgan for tour

Liberals unveil poverty plan with lofty goals, but no new spending

Government’s goal is to lift 2.1 million people out of poverty by 2030

PHOTOS: Prickly porcupine rescued after hitchhiking down Coquihalla Highway

BC Conservation Officer Service members were able to grab the porcupine and move it to safety

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Appeals court dismissed Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

Convicted murderer still missing after escaping B.C. prison 2 weeks ago

Mission RCMP are continuing to search for escaped inmate John Norman MacKenzie

Smoky skies trap B.C. man inside for days

Air quality warning issued for Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley

Surf’s up in California, where it’s now the official sport

Grab a board, catch a wave and find yourself, ‘sittin’ on top of the world’

Case of truck driver charged in Humboldt Broncos crash adjourned until October

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu is charged with 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death, other charges

Most Read